Exploration, Exploitation and Co-evolution in Innovation Networks Defended on Thursday, 4 December 2003

This PhD-thesis describes the co-evolution of sectoral characteristics, networks of firms and the embedded learning regime from the perspective of a sectoral innovation system (SIS). More specifically, this research aims to shed light on how the institutional environment of a SIS conditions network structures and learning regimes and how outcomes from a learning regime may affect again the institutional environment of a SIS. Moreover, this research aims to understand in how far this co-evolutionary process differs between different SISs. In analysing this co-evolutionary process, two views on organisation are combined, namely a competence view and a governance view. Following this, a dynamic model of co-evolution at the level of a SIS is developed based on which a number of hypotheses is developed. To test these hypotheses, two SISs in the Netherlands have been studied over the period from the late 1980s towards the early years of the new millennium : multimedia and pharmaceutical biotechnology. The empirical findings indicate that a general pattern of co-evolution on a sectoral level can be identified. How this pattern settles in network characteristics, coordination mechanisms and in properties of a learning regime is specific to the institutional set-up within a SIS or within different parts of a SIS. In this respect, this study contributes to the understanding of the dynamics of SISs as well as of how the optimality of network structure and coordination mechanisms varies with different types of SISs


Sectoral Systems of Innovation, interfirm networks, learning regimes, interfirm learning, networks governance, Dutch multimedia industry, Dutch pharmaceutical biotechnology industry, co-evaluation, exploiration, exploitation

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