Doctoral Thesis Innovation, Status, and Networks

Defended on Thursday, 1 September 2016


In this dissertation, I investigate how innovation strategy, status, and network structure jointly affect the performance and behavioral propensity of firms. In particular, I combine theories on exploration and exploitation, innovation, networks, and the status-based perspective to investigate (1) how exploration interacts with status to affect the performance of high-tech firms; (2) how exploration and exploitation shape partner selection for strategic alliance; (3) how the exploration or exploitation of an invention determines its value in technology markets, and what effect team characteristics have on that value; and (4) how competition networks affect firm performance directly, and how collaboration and competition networks interplay.

The findings from the four empirical studies show that status is an important factor in terms of how exploration and exploitation affect a firm's performance and its propensity to act in certain ways. The message for practice is that high-status firms should be wary of the signaling effect of status, and should never underrate the importance of quality and novelty. Analysis at the invention level shows that the balance between exploration and exploitation in an invention determines its value in technology markets and the likelihood that it will become a technological breakthrough. Finally, my dissertation also contributes to network theory by drawing attention to competition networks, whose effects haven't been given sufficient consideration. For managers, it suggests that, in order to create competitive advantage, firms should focus on their positions in both collaboration and competition networks.


Innovation, Status, Networks, Exploration, Exploitation, Competition, Collaboration, Venture Capital, Semi-conductor firms

Time frame

2011 - 2015


Pengfei Wang
Pengfei Wang

Supervisory Team

Justin Jansen
Professor of Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Promotor
Vareska van de Vrande
Professor of Collaborative Innovation and Business Venturing
  • Daily Supervisor

Committee Members

Geert Duysters
Geert Duysters
Taco Reus
Endowed Professor in Global Strategy