Do firms know the scope of their R&D; network? An empirical investigation of network awareness on French survey data
Although research and development (R&D;) networks influence the innovation performance of their members, firms may not be fully aware of the scope of their network. In particular, due to cost reasons, they may not be fully informed of their “indirect ties”, i.e., of the ties between their partners and other firms. To investigate this issue, the paper uses a French survey inquiring about whether firms are aware of the ties that their main R&D; partners may (or may not) have between themselves. Our results show that responding firms are more informed about their partners’ other collaboration projects when the partnership is more directly linked to intangible R&D; capital, when the partner is a public research organization or when the partnership is needed to access a new market. Firms with abundant resources in-house or within a group are less likely to know their indirect ties. Finally, network awareness is lower in high technology industries, possibly because the costs of being fully informed about R&D; networks and of exploiting this knowledge are too high given the high number of R&D; partnerships in these sectors. Overall, network awareness thus appears as the result of a trade-off between expected rewards and costs.