Research Seminars

How Technological Knowledge Base Influence Collaborative Activities: Evidence from the Biotechnology Industry

Speaker: Charles BADDEN FULLER
Cass Business School

15 March 2006 - From 16h30 to 18h00

We investigate the connections that lie between a firm's technological knowledge base, the way that knowledge base is organized and its collaborative strategy. We argue that different dimensions of technological knowledge base (intensity, diversity) act together with the firms competitive position sometimes encouraging research-collaboration, sometimes encouraging research-competition; moreover, the impact of the knowledge-base is conditioned by the organizational structure. We test our ideas using a data base of 1,550 alliances over the period of 1993 to 2002 undertaken by 78 major international firms that have established themselves as knowledge leaders in the biotechnology industry. We find that firms with intensive technological knowledge have competitive tendencies being less likely to enter alliances, while those with diverse knowledge are more likely to collaborate. Importantly we find an the organization of R&D has an important moderating influence on our results, showing that the competitive tendencies are muted when the firm either does not perceive competitive effects or cannot coordinate effective responses. Finally, we confirm that market opportunities strongly complement a firm's existing technological profile in determining collaborative behaviors. We discuss how our results inform the theory of alliance formation and knowledge management.
(Grateful thanks to co-authors: Jing Zhang, Vincent Mangematin, Lionel Nesta)

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