Technology, Knowledge and the Firm
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Technology, Knowledge and the Firm

Implications for Strategy and Industrial Change

Edited by Ken Green, Marcela Miozzo and Paul Dewick

There is a long-standing tradition of research that highlights the importance of differences in the organizational and technological capabilities of firms and their effect on economic performance. This book expands on this theme by exploring the role of knowledge and innovation in firm strategy and industrial change. Underlying the volume is the belief that firms have distinctive methods of operation and that these processes have a strong element of continuity.
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Chapter 7: Distant Networking? The Out-Cluster Strategies of New Biotechnology Firms

Margarida Fontes


7. Distant networking? The out-cluster strategies of new biotechnology firms Margarida Fontes 1. INTRODUCTION The biotechnology industry is characterized by a network structure of interorganizational relationships that acts as a coordination device between a variety of actors – new biotechnology firms, large established firms, universities and other nonfirms – with diverse competencies and assets (Barbanti et al., 1999; Powell et al., 1996). Given this specific form of industrial organization, the spatial concentration of innovative activities was found to favour biotechnology development, with location in ‘biotechnology clusters’ emerging as a factor of firms’ competitiveness (Cooke, 2001). However, there is evidence too that biotechnology firms are also more likely to establish connections outside the regional environment, given the global nature of their markets and the diversified and fast changing nature of the science base needed to innovate (McKelvey et al., 2003). In this context, the success of new biotechnology firms, which perform an intermediate function between science and the market, depends on their ability to put together a coherent set of relationships, both close by and distant, that enable access to new scientific knowledge and to the establishment of effective channels to technology or product markets. Against this background it is possible to ask the question: how do firms operating outside biotechnology clusters manage to survive and develop? The objective of this chapter is to address this question by identifying and discussing the main features of an ‘out-cluster’ strategy, based on case studies of Portuguese new biotechnology firms. This...

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