Technological capability building through networking strategies within high-tech industries

Wim Vanhaverbeke, Bonnie Beerkens & Geert Duysters

#2007-018

Learning through networks has been considered as an important research topic for several years now. Technological learning is more and more based on a combination of internal and external learning and firms need to develop both technological and social capital for that purpose. This paper analyses the relationship between both types of capital and their impact on the technological performance of companies in high-tech industries. We claim and find empirical evidence for decreasing marginal returns on social capital. Technological capital and social capital mutually reinforce each other's effect on the rate of innovation for companies with small patent and alliance portfolios. However, when the patent portfolio and network of alliances are extensive, companies risk to over-invest since optimal levels of social capital become smaller at higher levels of technological capital and the marginal benefits of investing in technological capital decreases the higher the levels of social capital. Finally, we find empirical evidence that companies that explore novel and pioneering technologies have higher levels of innovation performance in subsequent years than companies that solely invest in incremental innovations.

Keywords: Strategic Alliances, Networks, Innovation JEL classification: 032, 031

  


UNU-MERIT