Research on Social Networks and the Organization of Research and Development: An Introductory Essay

Posted: 11 Nov 2009

See all articles by Olav Sorenson

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management

David Waguespack

University of Maryland

Date Written: 2005


This article introduces a special issue of the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management devoted to exploring how patterns of social networks and interaction among scientists affect diffusion of innovation and knowledge. The history of science and technology has traditionally examined the individual genius. A newly developing approach, social network analysis, looks at patterns of relationships among scientists as predictors of innovation. It focuses on who an individual knows rather than his or her personal characteristics. Implicit is the assumption that access to knowledge can determine success at innovation and development of research. This scholarship on social networks in research and development has had a boost from the availability of patent data, which allows study of innovation and information flow within and among organizations. The content of the five special-issue papers are summarized. They explore issues of knowledge spillovers, collaboration frequency, knowledge diffusion, social networks, team composition, employment patterns, and project performance. (TNM)

Keywords: Social networks, Employment, High technology firms, R&D, Innovation process, Knowledge transfer, Knowledge spillovers, Social networks

Suggested Citation

Sorenson, Olav and Waguespack, David, Research on Social Networks and the Organization of Research and Development: An Introductory Essay (2005). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Olav Sorenson (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

David Waguespack

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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