The present study investigates how a high-tech-small-firm (HTSF) can carry out an inter-organizational search of actors located at universities. Responding to calls to study how firms navigate multiple institutional norms, this research examines the different strategies used by a HTSF to balance adopted academic norm-sets, commercial imperatives and formal regulations to support formation of networks and collaborations with universities. The findings show how the significance of weak and strong ties for the formation of collaborations and networks with universities is relative to the institutional embeddedness in different industries. The research thus illuminates how a HTSF effectively can combine different search and collaboration strategies depending on institutional contexts and logics governing R&D work. The concluding section outlines implications for future research and the management of sphere-straddling collaborations and network formation.
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The Triple Helix VIII International Conference on University, Industry and Government Linkages, 2010