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Managing technological transitions through R&D alliances


  • We wish to thank seminar participants in the Strategic Management Society Annual Conference 2006 (Vienna) and to the 11th ISS Conference (Sophia-Antipolis). Fabio Pammolli, Sandra Phlippen, Charles Dhanaraj, Bernard Munos and anonymous reviewers of this journal provided valuable contributions that helped us in this research. Any remaining errors are our own. Support by the CERM Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.


Technological and market transitions are difficult to manage, and collaborations can be viewed as either resources or constraints in dynamic settings. In the biopharmaceutical industry, a paradigmatic shift in the relevant knowledge bases occurred in the mid-1990s, inducing a structural change in the network of R&D collaborations. Search and relational strategies oriented toward exploration versus exploitation have prevailed in different phases of the network evolution. Therefore, biotechnology firms have experienced overwhelming difficulties in reorienting their learning strategies throughout paradigmatic shifts and ambidextrous organizations have been able to attain superior performances in terms of stability and centralization in the R&D network.