The Impact of Stocks and Flows of Organizational Knowledge on Firm Performance: An Empirical Investigation of the Biotechnology Industry



Date of this version


Document Type



stocks and flows of knowledge; biotechnology; firm performance


The knowledge-based view of the firm is a recent approach to understanding the relationship between firm capabilities and firm performance. Specifically, this approach suggests that knowledge generation, accumulation and application may be the source of superior performance. Other research has conceptualized organizational knowledge in terms of stocks of accumulated knowledge in the firm and flows of knowledge into the firm. This paper tests the relationship between stocks and flows of organizational knowledge and firm performance in the biotechnology industry. We suggest that a firm’s geographic location, alliances with other institutions and organizations and R&D expenditures are representative of knowledge flows, while products in the pipeline, firm citations and patents are indicative of knowledge stocks. Through factor analysis, we develop an aggregated measure of location from several variables. A regression model suggests that location is a significant predictor of firm performance as are products in the pipeline and firm citations. A major contribution of this investigation is the operationalization of geographic location and its statistically significant link to firm performance.

Published in

Strategic Management Journal

Citation/Other Information

DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(199910)

Strategic Management Journal, 1999, vol. 20, issue 10, pp. 953-968.