The relationship between organizational characteristics and membership of a biotechnology industry board-of-directors-network

Thomas Crispeels, Jurgen Willems, Paul Brugman

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between organizational characteristics and presence in a board-of-directors (BoD)-network, in the context of the biotechnology industry. Accessing and integrating external knowledge is key to an organization’s success within innovative industries. This can occur through inter-organizational networks such as the BoD-network.
The authors apply a network analysis method (Robins and Alexander, 2004) and a logistic regression to a proprietary database of Belgian biotechnology organizations.
The authors conclude that some organizational characteristics influence the presence of a biotechnology organization in the regional BoD-network. Academic spin-offs, start-ups and small companies are more likely to be part of the regional biotechnology BoD-network. The authors also observe that organizations involved in innovative activities are prominently present in the BoD-network. Interestingly, key actors like universities or academic hospitals are less present in the network.
The authors show that studying full networks and heterogeneous groups of organization leads to a better understanding of the causal mechanisms and dynamics of inter-organizational networks. To better understand the network dynamics in a context as complex as the biotechnology industry, multiple networks need to be studied simultaneously.
The findings in this study allow for the development of policies addressing knowledge transfer, diffusion of management and governance practices, and the initiation and management of collaborative projects through the BoD-network. The authors observe a self-reinforcing dependency between innovative activities and BoD-network membership. This implies that policies aimed at stimulating innovation should also aim at increasing the target organizations’ presence in the BoD-network. [...]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312 - 323
JournalJournal of Business & Industrial Marketing
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502015 Innovation management
  • 505027 Administrative studies
  • 211903 Science of management
  • 502014 Innovation research
  • 605005 Audience research


  • Knowledge organizations
  • biotechnology industry
  • board-of-directors-network
  • networks
  • organizational characteristics

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