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The Geography of Knowledge Sourcing, Personal Networks, and Innovation Effects: Evidence from the Biomedical Firms in Guangzhou, China

School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
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Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3412; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123412
Received: 11 May 2019 / Revised: 26 May 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Geography and Sustainability)
Personal networks, in contrast to organizational relations, have recently increased their significance to firms by allowing them to acquire external knowledge and strengthen their innovation capacity. Hot debates on the geography and innovation effects of personal networks persist, but these discussions are mainly derived from research works on western economies. Since personal interactions are context-sensitive, this paper examines the geography and the innovation effects of personal networks on biomedical firms in Guangzhou, which has a unique political and socioeconomic context owing to the transitional nature of China. This case study indicates that the geographic nature of personal knowledge networks is largely locally-based, and the primary driver of such networks is experience-based practices, such as repeated face-to-face contacts, labor mobility, and shared life experience. Personal knowledge networks contribute to both problem-solving and radical innovation for firms as a result of the guanxi-based relations in China that transform personal networks into channels for mobilizing innovation-related resources. Moreover, by dividing personal networks into bonding, bridging, and linking networks, this paper also de-homogenizes personal networks and delineates specific and differentiated innovation effects of manifold social relationships. Based on the research findings, policy implications aiming at laying the social ground of innovation are addressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: knowledge sourcing; personal networks; social capital; innovation; biotechnology; Guangzhou knowledge sourcing; personal networks; social capital; innovation; biotechnology; Guangzhou
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MDPI and ACS Style

Xu, J.; Fan Yang, F.; Xue, D. The Geography of Knowledge Sourcing, Personal Networks, and Innovation Effects: Evidence from the Biomedical Firms in Guangzhou, China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3412. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123412

AMA Style

Xu J, Fan Yang F, Xue D. The Geography of Knowledge Sourcing, Personal Networks, and Innovation Effects: Evidence from the Biomedical Firms in Guangzhou, China. Sustainability. 2019; 11(12):3412. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123412

Chicago/Turabian Style

Xu, Jili, Fiona Fan Yang, and Desheng Xue. 2019. "The Geography of Knowledge Sourcing, Personal Networks, and Innovation Effects: Evidence from the Biomedical Firms in Guangzhou, China" Sustainability 11, no. 12: 3412. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123412

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