Technical communities often play a crucial role in helping firms to develop and deploy new

technical innovations (Rosenkopf and Tushman, 1998; Rosenkopf et al., 2001; Mowery and

Simcoe, 2005; Fleming and Waguespack, 2007). Technical communities provide a vehicle

for the exchange of technical information that fosters the accumulation of innovations (Allen,

1983; von Hippel, 1988; Saxenian, 1994) and enables actors from different organizational

forms to collaborate (van de Ven, 1993; Rosenkopf and Tushman, 1998). Technical

communities, like industry associations, help firms identify mutual interests that might

otherwise go undiscovered (Sabel, 1984). Empirical work suggests that firms benefit from

participating in technical communities by gathering information on potential alliances,

identifying opportunities for future inter-firm collaboration (Rosenkopf et al., 2001) and

sharing risk (Tushman and Rosenkopf, 1992; Rosenkopf and Tushman, 1994, 1998).