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Status as Liability for Knowledge Brokers: A study of inter-firm
relationship in a convergent field (with A. Ghosh)
This paper investigates the knowledge antecedents of strategic alliances whose firms face convergence in their sector,
i.e. photographic imaging where disparate technologies are coming together. Taking a structural viewpoint,
we investigate their brokerage and status around their research and development activities manifested in their
collective intellectual property right filings that we construe as a knowledge space and the structure of
which is explored as a precursor for the propensity to form strategic alliances. Status emerges as a liability
for firms whose location in the knowledge space render them technology brokers, especially for those which
enjoy high status as defined through deference by peer firms. High status brokers exhibit a lower propensity
to collaborate with peers when compared to low status but structurally embedded firms due to the competitive
threats they present. The strongest alliance propensity is found among high status but structurally embedded firms.
The implications of the findings are discussed.