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The firm’s knowledge network and the transfer of advice among corporate inventors—A multilevel network study

Julia Brennecke and Olaf Rank

Research Policy, 2017, vol. 46, issue 4, 768-783

Abstract: Knowledge networks consisting of links between knowledge elements and social networks composed of interactions between inventors both play a critical role for innovation. Taking a multilevel network approach, this study integrates research on the two types of networks and investigates how the knowledge network of a firm influences work-related interactions among its inventors. To this end, we associate inventors with specific knowledge elements in the firm’s knowledge network and examine how this association affects the inventors’ popularity and activity in a work-related advice network. Empirically, we combine survey data on 135 inventors working in a German high-tech firm with information derived from the firm’s 1031 patents. Results from multilevel exponential random graph models (ERGM) show that different dimensions of knowledge derived from the firm’s knowledge network shape the transfer of advice among inventors in unique ways. Thus, our study demonstrates how structural features of the firm’s knowledge stock influence interpersonal interactions among its inventors thereby affecting the intra-organizational diffusion of knowledge and the recombinant possibilities of the firm.

Keywords: Corporate R&D; Advice network; Knowledge network; Patent; Exponential random graph model; Multilevel (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

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