Benefiting from network position: firm capabilities, structural holes, and performance



While strategy scholars primarily focus on internal firm capabilities and network scholars typically examine network structure, we posit that firms with superior network structures may be better able to exploit their internal capabilities and thus enhance their performance. We examine how innovative capabilities—both those of focal firms and those they access through their networks—influence the performance of Canadian mutual fund companies. We find that a firm's innovative capabilities and its network structure both enhance firm performance, while the innovativeness of its contacts does not do so directly. Innovative firms that also bridge structural holes get a further performance boost, suggesting that firms need to develop network-enabled capabilities—capabilities accruing to innovative firms that bridge structural holes. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.