Implications for Strategy and Industrial Change
Edited by Ken Green, Marcela Miozzo and Paul Dewick
Chapter 7: Distant Networking? The Out-Cluster Strategies of New Biotechnology Firms
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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