Knowledge Elites as Drivers of Biotechnology Development: Trends in Singapore

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



The objective of this paper is to examine whether the æStrategic Group conceptÆ is useful in understanding the evolution and rapid development of SingaporeÆs biotechnology industries. We briefly describe the history of this new knowledge-intensive industry in Singapore, why and how it was propagated and current achievements in terms of outputs. We do also a closer look at the various organizations and actors who are involved in this ambitious state-led development initiative and the various (strategic) groups which they represent aimed at identifying some of their characteristics and patterns. The analysis suggests that the development of the industry is enabled by various more or less heterogeneous players such as (i) the Government, leading politicians, experienced civil servants and state bureaucrats with vast experiences in SingaporeÆs powerful government-linked companies (GLCs) who are not seldom engineers by training, (ii) foreign biotechnology and life sciences experts from various countries (US, Europe) with specialized expertise and key competencies in areas such as molecular biology, chemistry, biomedicine etc. who are able to link local players with their own global networks etc. and (iii) representatives of biotechnology and life sciences industries. While the social dynamics of this vast network are poorly understood and strategic imperatives keep on shifting, it seems that the broad strategic goals outlined by SingaporeÆs Government, namely to put SingaporeÆs biotech cluster on the global map, are more or less shared by those involved. While more research is required to identify the antecedents and sequential patterns of strategic group formation in SingaporeÆs biotechnology sector (i.e. network drivers such as shared interests, communication adequacy, trust and so forth), we argue that the different groups at work in this knowledge-intensive industry cluster have managed to set up an effective (temporary) strategic network alliance to achieve their various goals.


Organizational Behavior and Theory | Technology and Innovation

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources


International Conference on Strategische Gruppen: Facetten eines vielfaeltigen Konzepts, Essen, June 2005

City or Country

Essen, Germany

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