Small business alliances : professional networks and innovation adoption
Trevor, Charlie O.
|Summary||Social network theory and new institutional theory have suggested that in some industries organizations are embedded in networks of interacting individuals who escape the iron cage of institutional practice by creating webs of informal relationships connecting relatively homogeneous units. In this study, we examined the importance of informal relationships within industry groupings of small medical practices for the adoption of new technology. Analysis showed that the capacity to recognize and quickly adopt promising new technology depends not only on ensuring that key personnel receive up-to-date training and continuing access to new scientific developments, but also on the social networking skills of key decision makers. Particularly striking was the interaction between internal and external factors. Organizations whose key personnel had less up-to-date training were more affected by their structural position in the industry network. This suggests that organizations can partially offset the inertia that comes with age by harvesting new information from disparate parts of the network. This perspective on organizational learning emphasizes the importance of both internal expertise and external scanning. To keep up with the rush of new technology, the organization needs to develop internally the ability to evaluate new developments, but should not neglect the network benefits of a brokerage position in the relevant industry.|
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