Exploring Entrepreneurial Network Relationships: Forms and facades in formation of the biotechnology firms

Jesper Norus

Research output: Working paperResearch

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In the recent years the successful collaborative arrangements and relationships between university, industry and public institutions have become a mantra in transforming new scientific knowledge into new innovations and business ventures. The fit between these very different actor groups has been treated as a contingent factor. However only little attention have been giving to a specific focus on the strategies that new business ventures have obtained to establish the fit between small firms, university research, and public policies such as regulatory policies and R&D policies. The emergence of the new biotechnologies and these techniques predominately coming from the university sector make the new biotechnology organizations an interesting object for studying these relationships both on a regional and a national level.From the perspective of the small biotechnology firms (SBFs) the paper explores four different strategies for dealing with network relations; the research oriented strategy, the incubator strategy, the industrial partnering strategy, and the policy-oriented strategy. The research-oriented strategy is narrowly focusing on how a biotechnology firm transforms their scientific results into promising technologies, services or products. The incubator strategy is concerned with localization and how to come about specific types of managerial problem in the initial stage of forming a business venture. The industrial partnering strategy concerns how to overcome the problem of bringing the technologies from an experimental stage at a research lab to be able handle industrial processes and full-scale production. Last but not least the policy oriented strategy focus on problem of having products approved by the public authorities.Theoretically the article draws upon network theories and a dynamic view of network relations. That is done in order to capture the nature of the relationships between different types of actors, but also in order to emphasize the informal nature of some of these relationships.The article has a dual purpose; 1) From a corporate point of view to emphasize multiple conditions for developing and forming interorganizational relationships, 2) From a research perspective to point to the diversity and heterogeneity of these relations and thereby emphasizes the evolutionary nature of these relations and their relatedness to the overall strategies obtained by the biotechnology entrepreneurs.The paper is structured so it will start out by stating its methodological foundations. Thereafter the theoretical positioning of the network approach will seek to argue that we have multiple network relationships are at play. Not only do these networks differ but also the institutional and organizational origins are to be touched upon to come to understand the nature of the biotechnology environment and the actors involved. The positioning of the SBFs as the focal point of the analysis leads to a discussion on entrepreneurial business strategies in biotechnology industry and how these business strategies in a very distinct mode is correlated with interorganizational relationships. The empirical evidence will be fleshed out in four cases representing each of the four suggested strategies. The conclusion discusses three implications of network partnering analysis. First, it discusses the theoretical contributions on the diversity, heterogeneity between the four partnering strategies. Second, it will point to future directions in the research. Third, the conclusion will point to the managerial challenges that can be foreseen.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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