This paper analyzes the phenomenon of strategic technology alliances. It is proposed that the concept of small worlds, which has been adopted from mathematical graph theory, is a useful model to combine two theoretical streams that have previously analyzed this phenomenon. These are the theory of social capital and the theory of structural holes. We outline a small worlds model, and apply it to data on strategic technology alliances. We find that networks of strategic technology alliances can indeed be characterized as small worlds, and that this has favorable implications for knowledge transfer. There are, however, also important differences between two different technology fields that we consider: chemicals and food, and electricals.
ScienceDirect - Technovation : The small worlds of strategic technology alliances