How do actors shape social networks during the process of new product development?

Abstract : Recent studies on new-idea generation and development have highlighted the role played by network structure in the genesis of new combinations or the process of selecting ideas. However, less attention has been paid to the factors that entice actors to shape social networks during the process of the development of new ideas. This research was conducted in an R&D facility of a semiconductor company. We analysed the generation of five creative projects and their development over a four-year period. We used a longitudinal approach and collected data through interviews and observations to identify the creative contributions and the actors who were involved at different time periods for each project. We mapped the relationships between actors who contributed to the development of each idea through creative thinking and/or helped it to become accepted both internally and externally over three-year windows. This method generated data on network evolution. We also carried out a qualitative analysis and identified four main factors explaining why actors turn to others during the idea-development process: (1) to gain access to information ; (2) to enhance credibility; (3) to exercise oneÕs influence; and (4) to gain access to knowledge through people or objects. We demonstrate that different types of ties or network structures are relied upon to reap different kinds of benefits. This may partially explain network evolution as an idea progresses through different development stages. ª
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Fanny Simon, Albéric Tellier. How do actors shape social networks during the process of new product development? . European Management Journal, Elsevier, 2011, ⟨10.1016/j.emj.2011.05.001⟩. ⟨hal-01572294⟩

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