A Framework for Analyzing Absorptive Capacity Using Social Network Analysis (Case Study: Sharif University Innovation Ecosystem)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Prof., College of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Technology and Innovation Management, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Technology Management, College of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.



Due to the importance of innovation ecosystems in the global economic circle, the absorptive capacity concept is important in Iran, too. Sharif University of Technology is important in establishing innovation clusters, because of its scientific status, access to knowledge resources, and being close to various industries and factories. It also provides a platform for the flow of knowledge between academic and business fields.
Sharif University of Technology is a pioneer in establishing a cluster platform for start-ups and accelerators. The growth of innovation clusters is a current policy focus in many countries. This article examines and analyzes the absorption capacity of the ecosystem. The primary variable is the measurement of knowledge flows within clusters, while the ability of units to utilize these knowledge flows is another crucial factor. Knowledge flow and the capacity to leverage it are vital inputs for fostering innovative approaches within the cluster. Although the analysis of absorptive capacity has traditionally focused on individual companies without considering the geographical context and external knowledge connections, this approach has often overlooked the external role of companies. Consequently, the effectiveness of knowledge within each organization has been neglected.
In this study, In this respect, the role of technology sectors of the Sharif University Innovation Ecosystem regarding knowledge communication and their cognitive position will be explored. The absorption capacity and models of knowledge connection between technology sectors in the innovation cluster are tested by identifying and extracting the role of each sector of the innovation cluster to use the Social Network Analysis (SNA) method. As the absorptive capacity of technological fields is conducive to their innovative performance, detecting and fostering the knowledge flow between such fields ways is essential to develop the innovative platform of innovation clusters, which, in turn, aims at investigating the current situation in terms of the dimensions of absorptive capacity, namely acquisition, adaptation, transfer, and exploitation in the innovation cluster's scope and its external environment. It picks out and exploits the cognitive stance of every field of technology based on the communication of knowledge. Thus, it will be spotting the input to everyone and the output from it, the types of communication, and the types of knowledge interactions with the outside entities. All these interactions result in roles such as technology gatekeepers, stars, and isolates.
The absorption capacity model has been identified by extracting the role of each technology field from within and outside the cluster utilizing the social network analysis method by computing the degree of knowledge input, output, and intermediateness. Through expert opinions and a literature review, the improvement solutions of the knowledge network have been identified and are presented as part of a transition mechanism to enhance the condition.


Main Subjects

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