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Title: Innovation intermediaries and triple helix networks in developing countries with particular reference to the case of Thailand
Author: Nakwa, Karantarat
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 5801
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2013
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This study explores the evolution of the triple helix network and innovation system in relation to the role of innovation intermediaries based on the experience of knowledge network development in Thailand. The study attempts to show both conceptually and empirically the development of the triple helix innovation system as an evolutionary process starting from 'pre-existing inter-firm networks', which occur in the form of supply chain-based vertical links and industry or trade associations or cluster-based horizontal links, and progressing through triple helix networks that would be expected to culminate in the establishment of the triple helix innovation system underpinned by network dynamics. In the context of Thailand, as indeed elsewhere in developing countries, the challenge of knowledge network development is a major hurdle that has yet to be overcome in the long evolutionary process of getting to the triple helix innovation system. Triple helix networks are particularly significant for developing countries as they offer the opportunity for knowledge exchange and combination between diverse sources of knowledge that constitute the basis for network dynamics to arise. Given this, the study investigates the hypothesis that the active participation of Thai firms in triple helix networks depends on factors, including the availability of intermediaries and their effectiveness as a catalyst expediting knowledge network development among all triple helix actors; the technological capability of the firms; and their experience in pre-existing networks. Generally speaking, networks are dysfunctional where intermediaries are absent or ineffective. Intermediaries function as sponsors at policy level; as brokers at strategic level; and as boundary spanners at operational level to stimulate the transformation of 'pre-existing networks' into triple helix networks and beyond this into the triple helix innovation system. The data for investigation of the hypothesis were collected through interviews and a questionnaire-based survey in six manufacturing industries categorised into three industry groups - multinational corporation (MNC)-based, small and medium enterprise (SME)-based, and community enterprise (CE)-based.MNC-based industries include hard disk drive and automotive industries. SME-based industries include ceramic and furniture industries. CE-based industries include local textile and rice cracker industries. The questionnaire survey was conducted to elicit data at the level of the firm. A total of 145 firms, which constitute 16 per cent of the total number of firms approached, responded to the questionnaire-based survey. A total of 20 key individuals extracted from universities, industry and government agencies were also interviewed to elicit data relating to network activities at the triple helix level. The study finds financial supports from sponsors to be a crucial factor affecting success in the formation of triple helix networks, and the boundary-spanning role of intermediaries to be significant for the active engagement of universities and the emergence of network dynamics that is at the heart of the triple helix innovation system. The study's contribution to knowledge consists in its conceptual and empirical analyses of the systemic roles played by innovation intermediaries; the evolution of the complex triple helix innovation system from simple inter-firm networks; the emergence of network dynamics from the interactions of heterogeneous players in the triple helix framework; and the effectiveness of intermediation across the three main industry groups in the Thai manufacturing economy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available