Department of
Sociology

Center for
Innovation

Network Theories and Research about Innovation

Increasingly networks both within and between research organizations are the context in which important scientific and technological advances are conducted. An explosion of research has occurred during the past ten years on inter-organizational networks (Alter and Hage 1993; Dussauge and Garrette 1999; Doz and Hamel 1998; Harbison and Pekar 1998; Häkansson 1990; Jorillo, 1993; Kogut, Shan and Walker 1993; Lundvall 1993; Meeus and Faber, 2006; O’Doherty 1995),

A important stream of our research is on relationships between social capital and the formation of networks. Our hypothesis is that when communities solve problems of concern to individuals, then they create social capital, which manifests itself in increased trust and also more cooperative behavior. In the project described in Theories and Research on Institutional and Organizational Design to Reduce Health Care Costs, Moratlity and Inequality we are testing this idea. Another important feature of this project is that community mobilization necessitates activating two kinds of networks, leader networks and interpersonal networks. And consistent with some of the recent research (Perry and Pescosolido, 2010), four different kinds of networks are being activated: youth problems, education problems, health problems, and employment problems.

One of the main reasons for this is that networks play a critical role in providing access to or create various kinds of resources: people, knowledge, equipment, and funds. In particular networks connect differentiated areas of research or disciplines or scientific expertise. The Center for Innovation is concentrating on the following four topics:

  • Knowledge networks as a key element of R&D
  • The nature of ties in networks, particularly those that are important for the passage of tacit knowledge
  • The effectiveness of networks, particularly at the technological sector level, as measured by radicalness of innovation, speed of development, and contributions to some national mission.
  • Developing a theory about appropriate types of network structure for specific kinds of research.

Relevant Publications include

Mote, J.; G. Jordan, and J. Hage. 2007. New Directions in the Use of Network Analysis in R&D Evaluation. Research Evaluation 16(3): 191-203. International Social Network Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada, April. [pdf]

Updated 15 December 2016