Keywords: interpersonal relationships, interorganisation relationships, technology diffusion, TCE, transaction cost economics, social capital, network theory, network embeddedness, small firms, Taiwan, social network analysis, structural equation modelling, strategic alliances
Influences of inter-organisational relationships in technology diffusion: the network perspective
A conceptual challenge in exploring the role of interorganisational relationships is adapting an inherently level-ambiguous concept to incorporate distinct interpersonal- and interorganisational-level concepts. As compared to studies that have focused on large enterprises in developed countries, we define technology diffusion of small-sized firms whose resources are limited as distinct constructs and draw on theories of transaction cost economics, social capital, and network theory to derive a model that focuses on how the interpersonal and interorganisational relationships of less-explored, small-sized firms influence the technology diffusion in developing countries. We tested hypotheses with data from a sample of Taiwanese 173 technology-related alliances among 141 small-sized firms using the social network analysis tool and the structural equation model. The results indicate that interpersonal and interorganisational relationships are related but distinct constructs and that they play different roles in affecting transaction costs and technology diffusion. Hypotheses linking interpersonal and interorganisational relationships to technology diffusion received the most support. Overall, the results show that interpersonal and interorganisational relationships do clearly matter in influencing technology diffusion alliances.