Título: Personal ties in university-industry linkages. A case-study from Argentina

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Abstract

Many previous studies have advanced in identifying different modes of interactions between public research organizations (PROs) and industry and in assessing their associated benefits. However, few studies have adopted a social network perspective to analyze the relation between the characteristics of social ties and actors and specific aspects of PROs-industry interactions. Based on case-study evidence of linkages formed by researchers from a medium-sized Argentinian university, we include the strength of tie as one of the driving factors in the selection of PROs-industry channels. Following Granovetter (Am J Sociol, 1360–1380, 1973) we assess the concept of strength of tie as a linear combination of friendship, trustworthiness, reciprocity of knowledge exchange, and frequency of interaction. Using econometric techniques we find that stronger ties motivate the selection of longer-term bi-directional modes of interactions which, in turn, create knowledge benefits for PROs. In contrast, weaker ties are good enough for service provision, which creates financial benefits for PROs. These findings bring to the fore the need to conceptualize PROs-industry collaborations holistically, including the relational, social and historical nature of these processes side by side with technical and legal processes.

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