Determinants of Evolutionary Change Processes in Innovation Networks – Empirical Evidence from the German Laser Industry
We seek to understand the relationship between network change determinants, network change processes at the micro level and structural consequences at the overall network level. Our conceptual framework considers three groups of determinants – organizational, relational and contextual. Selected factors within these groups are assumed to cause network change processes at the micro level – tie formations and tie terminations – and to shape the structural network configuration at the overall network level. We apply a unique longitudinal event history dataset based on the full population of 233 German laser source manufacturers and 570 publicly-funded cooperation projects to answer the following research question: What kind of exogenous or endogenous determinants affect a firm’s propensity and timing to cooperate and enter the network? Estimation results from a non-parametric event history model indicate that young micro firms enter the network later than small-sized and large firms. An in-depth analysis of the size effects for medium-sized firms provides some unexpected yet quite interesting findings. The choice of cooperation type makes no significant difference for the firms’ timing to enter the network. Finally, the analysis of contextual determinants shows that cluster membership can, but do not necessarily, affect a firm’s timing to cooperate.