Journal Article

Contradiction, convergence and the knowledge economy: the confluence of academic and commercial biotechnology

Steven Peter Vallas and Daniel Lee Kleinman

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 6, issue 2, pages 283-311
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwl035
Contradiction, convergence and the knowledge economy: the confluence of academic and commercial biotechnology

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Efforts to understand the structure of the emerging knowledge economy have paid particular attention to the shifting boundary between academic and commercial (for-profit) research, especially in life sciences. Yet, empirical studies have tended to adopt a segmented approach, focusing on either industry or the academy, thus obscuring the increasingly interwoven nature of these two domains. In this paper, we explore the changing organizational logics that govern both academic and corporate science, using interview data gathered from two important clusters of the biotechnology industry: Route 128 in Massachusetts and the San Francisco Bay area. These data, while provisional, lead us to suggest that cultural traffic between university and commercial science has increased, blurring the boundary between them and generating a new and often contradictory knowledge regime, the product of a growing confluence of organizational logics that had previously been distinct. The emergence of this regime, which conforms to Stark's (2001) notion of ‘heterarchy’, holds important implications for prevailing theories of university–industry relations and of organizational change as well.

Keywords: knowledge based economy; organizational change; university–industry relations; science; L0 industrial organization; L1 market structure; firm strategy; market performance

Journal Article.  11221 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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