The fast growth of science parks around the world has inspired many researchers to investigate the function and performance of science parks (SPs). Interestingly, mixed findings are reported on science park performance in the literature: some researchers found that SPs have benefits for the firms located on site; whereas other researchers doubt the benefits that SPs are claimed to have. This thesis aims to explain these mixed findings and proposes a relational approach to study the general view of interorganisational knowledge flows. The main research question to be answered is: How can the mixed findings of previous research studies regarding innovative performances of science park firms be explained? A sample of 52 new technology-based firms (NTBFs) situated in Gauteng was interviewed by means of structured questionnaires. Despite the fact that this research did not empirically confirm the theoretical explanation of the mixed findings found in science park literature, some issues raised in the recommendation section of this thesis could account for the mixed findings, namely differences in the scanning processes of new entrant firms, the nature of networking activities, services provided by SP management teams, academic-industry links and configurations of knowledge flows. The findings and recommendations of this study may help policy makers to further improve the design and functioning of science parks in emerging economies.
Thesis (PhD(Technology Management))--University of Pretoria, 2010.