Networking capabilities of large companies in technological fields: components, antecedents and consequences (case study: biopharmaceutical field)

Document Type : Original research


1 phd student

2 Associate Professor, Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran

3 Professor of Technology Management Department, Malik Ashtar University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The rapid growth of biopharmaceutical fields and the expansion of interactions between firms, has led to the formation of innovation networks around big biopharmaceutical companies, which as a hub, have the task of leading and orchestrating other Network-based firms. On the other hand, biopharmaceutical firms need networking capabilities to be successful in networking. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effective dimensions in developing the firms' network capabilities, especially large companies (hubs), and their role in the consequences of networking in the Iranian biopharmaceutical industry. To answer research questions, while interviewing experts in three areas of government, industry, and academia in biopharmaceutical field, with the data approach of the Foundation, the dimensions of the issue were examined, and finally, in addition to the main factor or phenomenon, "network capabilities", antecedents and consequences of these capabilities is identified. According to the results; network capabilities have three dimensions: individual capabilities, general capabilities of network members and the capabilities of hub companies. Also, it can be acknowledged that the network capabilities of biopharmaceutical firms are influenced by causal factors or antecedents, and the network capabilities of these firms, sometimes lead to positive consequences for them and for the network when leading to the presentation of strategies and practical actions appropriate to the capabilities of the network.


Main Subjects

Aarikka-Stenroos, L., & Ritala, P. (2017). Network management in the era of ecosystems: Systematic review and management framework. Industrial Marketing Management67, 23-36.
Agranoff, R., & McGuire, M. (2001). Big questions in public network management research. Journal of public administration research and theory11(3), 295-326.
Äyväri, A., & Möller, K. (2008, September). Understanding relational and network capabilities–a critical review. In 24th IMP conference in Uppsala, Sweden.
Bidault, F., & Fischer, W. A. (1994). Technology transactions: networks over markets. R&D Management24(4), 373-386.
Bittencourt, B. A., Zen, A. C., Schmidt, V., & Wegner, D. (2018). The orchestration process for emergence of clusters of innovation. Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management.
Blackstone, E. A., & Joseph, P. F. (2013). The economics of biosimilars. American health & drug benefits6(8), 469.
Blomqvist, K., & Levy, J. (2006). Collaboration capability–a focal concept in knowledge creation and collaborative innovation in networks. International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy2(1), 31-48.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology3(2), 77-101.
Camarinha-Matos, L. M., Fornasiero, R., & Afsarmanesh, H. (2017, September). Collaborative networks as a core enabler of industry 4.0. In Working conference on virtual enterprises (pp. 3-17). Springer, Cham.
Chandrasegaran, S., Badam, S. K., Kisselburgh, L., Ramani, K., Elmqvist, N. (2017). Integrating Visual Analytics Support for Grounded Theory Practice in Qualitative Text Analysis. Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis), 36(3), 201-212.
Criado, J. I., & Gil-Garcia, J. R. (2019). Creating public value through smart technologies and strategies: From digital services to artificial intelligence and beyond. International Journal of Public Sector Management.
Corsaro, D., Ramos, C., Henneberg, S. C., & Naudé, P. (2011). Actor network pictures and networking activities in business networks: An experimental study. Industrial marketing management40(6), 919-932.
Corsaro, D., Ramos, C., Henneberg, S. C., & Naudé, P. (2012). The impact of network configurations on value constellations in business markets—The case of an innovation network. Industrial Marketing Management41(1), 54-67.
Cullen-Lester, K. L., & Yammarino, F. J. (2016). Collective and network approaches to leadership: Special issue introduction. The Leadership Quarterly27(2), 173-180.
Dhanaraj, C., & Parkhe, A. (2006). Orchestrating innovation networks. Academy of management review31(3), 659-669.
Danilovic, M., & Winroth, M. (2005). A tentative framework for analyzing integration in collaborative manufacturing network settings: a case study. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management22(1-2), 141-158.
Fang, G., Ma, X., Ren, L., & Zhou, Q. (2014). Antecedents of Network Capability and Their Effects on Innovation Performance: An Empirical Test of Hi‐tech Firms in C hina. Creativity and innovation Management23(4), 436-452.
Flint, D. J., Larsson, E., Gammelgaard, B., & Mentzer, J. T. (2005). Logistics innovation: a customer value‐oriented social process. Journal of business logistics, 26(1), 113-147.
Gausdal, A. H., & Nilsen, E. R. (2011). Orchestrating innovative SME networks. The case of “HealthInnovation”. Journal of the Knowledge Economy2(4), 586-600.
Haghighi, M., Arasti, M. R., Bahri, A., Saifoddin, A. A., Nilforoushan, H., & aslani, A. (2019). Formation of innovation networks with two hubs: A case study of mega-watt wind turbine network. Innovation Management Journal8(3), 1-22. (In persian)
Hallaj Yousefi, M. R., Aali, S., Sanoubar, N., & Nikki Esfahalan, H. (2021). Designing an entrepreneurial networking capability model. Journal of Entrepreneurship Development14(2), 241-260. (In persian)
Human, G., & Naudé, P. (2009). Exploring the relationship between network competence, network capability and firm performance: A resource-based perspective in an emerging economy. Management Dynamics: Journal of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists18(1), 2-14.
Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P., Nätti, S., & Pikkarainen, M. (2021). Orchestrating for lead user involvement in innovation networks. Technovation108, 102326.
Kargar Shahamat, B. (2018). The theory of innovation networks; An analytical approach to social - economic relations. Science and Technology Policy Letters08(2), 71-102. (In persian)
King, N. &, C. (2010). Interviews in qualitative research. London: Sage Publications.
Kumar, M., Pullman, M., Bouzdine-Chameeva, T., & Rodrigues, V. S. (2022). The role of the hub-firm in developing innovation capabilities: considering the French wine industry cluster from a resource orchestration lens. International Journal of Operations & Production Management.
Levén, P., Holmström, J., & Mathiassen, L. (2014). Managing research and innovation networks: Evidence from a government sponsored cross-industry program. Research Policy43(1), 156-168.
Li, D., Wei, Y. D., Miao, C., Wu, Y., & Xiao, W. (2019). Innovation, network capabilities, and sustainable development of regional economies in China. Sustainability, 11(17), 4770.
Martin, E., Nolte, I., & Vitolo, E. (2016). The Four Cs of disaster partnering: Communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration. Disasters40(4), 621-643.
Mitrega, M., Forkmann, S., Zaefarian, G., & Henneberg, S. C. (2017). Networking capability in supplier relationships and its impact on product innovation and firm performance. International Journal of Operations & Production Management.
Mignoni, J., Bittencourt, B. A., da Silva, S. B., & Zen, A. C. (2021). Orchestrators of innovation networks in the city level: the case of Pacto Alegre. Innovation & Management Review.
Milwood, P. A., & Roehl, W. S. (2018). Orchestration of innovation networks in collaborative settings. Horrocks International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Mohammadi, M., Hamidi, M., Mahmoudi, B., & Javadi, S. (2015). Identifying, Analyzing and Categorizing Factors Affecting the Formation of Innovation Networks in Knowledge-Based Firms: A Case Study of the University of Tehran Science and Technology Park. (In persian)
Mu, J. (2014). Networking capability, network structure, and new product development performance. Ieee Transactions on Engineering Management, 61(4), 599–609.
Mueller, E. F., & Jungwirth, C. (2016). What drives the effectiveness of industrial clusters? Exploring the impact of contextual, structural and functioning determinants. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development28(5-6), 424-447.
Nambisan, S., & Sawhney, M. (2011). Orchestration processes in network-centric innovation: Evidence from the field. Academy of management perspectives25(3), 40-57.
Provan, K. G., Fish, A., & Sydow, J. (2007). Interorganizational networks at the network level: A review of the empirical literature on whole networks. Journal of management33(3), 479-516.
Nilforoshan, H & Arasti, M. (2013). The Weak Failure Process of Engineered Innovation Networks in the Initiation Phase: The Case Study of Gas Industry in Iran. Journal of Science and Technology Policy6(2), 1-17. . (In persian)
Powell, w. (2005). Networks of The Oxford Handbook of innovation
Provan, K. G., & Kenis, P. (2008). Modes of network governance: Structure, management, and effectiveness. Journal of public administration research and theory18(2), 229-252.
Rampersad, G., Quester, P., & Troshani, I. (2010). Managing innovation networks: Exploratory evidence from ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology networks. Industrial marketing management, 39(5), 793-805.
Ritter, T., & Gemünden, H. G. (2003). Network competence: Its impact on innovation success and its antecedents. Journal of business research56(9), 745-755.
Sabatier, V., Mangematin, V., & Rousselle, T. (2010). Orchestrating networks in the biopharmaceutical industry: small hub firms can do it. Production Planning and Control21(2), 218-228.
Sakhdari, K. (2015). Networking ability and organizational entrepreneurial performance: explaining the role of organizational strategic trends (case study: companies providing technical and engineering equipment and services to the mining and mineral industries of Iran). Journal of Entrepreneurship Development8(1), 159-174. (In persian)
Schilke, O., & Goerzen, A. (2010). Alliance management capability: an investigation of the construct and its measurement. Journal of management36(5), 1192-1219.
Shamir, B., Pillai, R., Bligh, M. C., & Uhl-Bien, M. (2007). Follower-centered perspectives on leadership: A tribute to the memory of James R. Meindl. Greenwich, CT: Information Age.
Shu, R., Ren, S., & Zheng, Y. (2018). Building networks into discovery: The link between entrepreneur network capability and entrepreneurial opportunity discovery. Journal of Business Research85, 197-208.
Sorrentino, F., & Garraffo, F. (2012). Explaining performing R&D through alliances: Implications for the business model of Italian dedicated biotech firms. Journal of Management & Governance, 16, 449-475.
Sumo, R., van der Valk, W., & van Weele, A. J. (2012, July). Performance-based contracting as an enabler of innovation. In 21st Annual IPSERA Conference, Naples, Italy.
Teng, T., Cao, X., & Chen, H. (2021). The dynamics of inter-firm innovation networks: The case of the photovoltaic industry in China. Energy Strategy Reviews33, 100593.
Tsuruta, L. R., Lopes dos Santos, M., & Moro, A. M. (2015). Biosimilars advancements: moving on to the future. Biotechnology progress31(5), 1139-1149.
Villasalero, M. (2014). Intra-network knowledge roles and division performance in multi-business firms. Journal of Knowledge Management.
Walter, A., Auer, M., & Ritter, T. (2006). The impact of network capabilities and entrepreneurial orientation on university spin-off performance. Journal of business venturing21(4), 541-567.
Wang, M. C., Chen, P. C., & Fang, S. C. (2018). A critical view of knowledge networks and innovation performance: The mediation role of firms' knowledge integration capability. Journal of Business Research88, 222-233.
Zacca, R., Dayan, M., & Ahrens, T. (2015). Impact of network capability on small business performance. Management Decision.
Zahra, S. A., Filatotchev, I., & Wright, M. (2009). How do threshold firms sustain corporate entrepreneurship? The role of boards and absorptive capacity. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(3), 248–260.