Why Did Life Sciences Clusters Emerge in Some Cities but Not Others?


Walter Powell is an organizational sociologist whose current research focuses on how knowledge is transferred across organizations, the role of networks in facilitating or hindering innovation, and the manner in which institutions codify ideas and practices. He is Professor of Education (and, by courtesy) Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication, Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and Director of the Scandinavian Consortium for Organizational Research at Stanford University. In this talk, Woody addresses these points…

1. What factors make distinctive network configurations possible at particular points in time and space? How does a collection of diverse organizations emerge and form a field?
2. The critical factors that allow networks of collaboration to emerge are: the presence of multiple types of organizational forms, an anchor tenant that protects the value of openness, and cross-network transposition.
3. Diversely anchored, multi-connected networks are much less likely to unravel than networks reliant on a few elite organizations, and the organizing practices of such networks are more likely to be resilient to perturbations.