The literature maintains that in the development models of the Asian tigers in the 1980s, policy-induced intermediaries played the key mediating roles in acquiring technology from abroad to enhance local capabilities. In this paper, we examined how the intermediaries fare in terms of their expected brokerage roles in the context of the Taiwanese biopharmaceutical sector. By applying social network methods to data on this specific sub-sector, we demonstrate that the intermediary organisations under-performed in terms of brokering the transfer and diffusion of foreign technologies. Two factors underlie this result: intermediaries need to possess sufficient capabilities to be able to drive the strategy of stimulating a science-intensive sector through foreign technology, and intermediaries alone are not sufficient for the success of this strategy. We conclude that, instead of heavily relying on intermediaries to act as brokers, enabling research organisations and firms to play more effective brokerage roles may be a more successful strategy to develop a science-intensive sector such as biopharmaceuticals.
International Journal of Technology Management 69(3-4), pp.189-209