Dynamics of New Industrial Knowledge Flows
Edited by Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Stewart MacNeill and Chris Collinge
Chapter 5: Knowledge Phases, Cognitive and Relational Distance in ICT Alliance Networks
Olivier Brossard and Jérôme Vicente INTRODUCTION 5.1 There are several theoretical and empirical ways to study networks of innovators (Powell and Grodal, 2005). In this chapter, we focus mainly on the economic dimensions of knowledge dynamics in order to capture the reasons why firms engage in network relations. As a basic assumption, we suppose that knowledge is not only a public good – imperfect or impure though it may be – but also a complex and systemic good (Antonelli, 2005; Sorenson et al., 2006). Knowledge as an output is complex and systemic since it combines many interacting pieces of knowledge as inputs. Knowledge can be viewed as a ‘recipe’ which involves not just some peculiar combinations of ‘ingredients’, but also peculiar integration methods. Knowledge is therefore both complex and systemic insofar as its generation implies some systemic interdependencies between internal and external pieces of knowledge. However, network strategies are not the panacea for knowledge-based firms’ competitiveness. If firms improve their accessibility to external knowledge by establishing partnerships, they also face risks of appropriation defaults (Antonelli, 2006) in doing so. Network relations thus correspond to very peculiar strategies in which each participant considers that the benefits of accessibility exceed the risks of underappropriation. So that the relation may be of mutual advantage to them all, the partners establish collectively a specific network governance framework which especially defines the shared property rights structure. The information and communication technology (ICT) sector will help us to carry out this study theoretically and empirically. This...
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