Knowledge flow across inter-firm networks: the influence of network resources, spatial proximity, and firm size

HUGGINS, Robert and JOHNSTON, Andrew (2010). Knowledge flow across inter-firm networks: the influence of network resources, spatial proximity, and firm size. Entrepreneurship and regional development, 22 (5), 457-484.

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    Link to published version:: 10.1080/08985620903171350


    The objective of this paper is to analyze the characteristics and nature of the networks firms utilize to access knowledge and facilitate innovation. The paper draws on the notion of network resources, distinguishing two types: social capital – consisting of the social relations and networks held by individuals; and network capital – consisting of the strategic and calculative relations and networks held by firms. The methodological approach consists of a quantitative analysis of data from a survey of firms operating in knowledge-intensive sectors of activity. The key findings include: social capital investment is more prevalent among firms frequently interacting with actors from within their own region; social capital investment is related to the size of firms; firm size plays a role in knowledge network patterns; and network dynamism is an important source of innovation. Overall, firms investing more in the development of their inter-firm and other external knowledge networks enjoy higher levels of innovation. It is suggested that an over-reliance on social capital forms of network resource investment may hinder the capability of firms to manage their knowledge networks. It is concluded that the link between a dynamic inter-firm network environment and innovation provides an alternative thesis to that advocating the advantage of network stability.

    Item Type: Article
    Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
    Identification Number: 10.1080/08985620903171350
    Depositing User: Andrew Johnston
    Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2012 13:43
    Last Modified: 25 Apr 2014 15:48

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