Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms

Julia Porter Liebeskind, Amalya Lumerman Oliver, Lynne Zucker, Marilynn Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

738 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examine how two highly successful new biotechnology firms (NBFs) source their most critical input - scientific knowledge. We find that scientists at the two NBFs enter into large numbers of collaborative research efforts with scientists at other organizations, especially universities. Formal market contracts are rarely used to govern these exchanges of scientific knowledge. Our findings suggest that the use of boundary-spanning social networks by the two NBFs increases both their learning and their flexibility in ways that would not be possible within a self-contained hierarchical organization.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)428-443
Number of pages16
JournalOrganization Science
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

Keywords

  • Biotechnology
  • Organizational Flexibility
  • Organizational Learning
  • Social Networks

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