National innovation system building in a developing country context : the case of Turkey
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Drawing upon the rich theoretical insights on the central status of technological change and innovation in national development, this dissertation investigates policy development processes at the national level and private firm and extra-firm institutional interactions at national, international, and regional levels to gain insights on the national innovation system construction processes in a developing country context, Turkey. Cognizant of the strong emphasis in contemporary literature on crucial role of regional agglomeration processes in stimulating innovation and competitive advantage and the unique context and challenges to accelerating innovation in developing countries, the study utilizes regional and national innovation system frameworks as supplements to each other to investigate the local and non-local networking patterns of firms and institutions within major economic regions. The dissertation research shows that NIS construction process is changing and evolving as shortfalls, failures and unmet needs are identified. The major issues with respect to the applicability of the NIS framework are fostering a basic cultural awareness of the importance of innovation, building a systems perspective among program implementers and establishing meaningful information sharing and collaboration mechanisms across bureaucratic boundaries. At the firm level, the linkages and collaborations are at an early stage of development and exhibit certain problems and frictions. Firms’ innovation processes are not contingent upon systemic regional relationships or collaborations and mostly reflect higher national and international influences overriding the advantages rising from proximity to major local actors and institutions. Firms try to access to knowledge irrespective of their collaborators proximity. Therefore, leveraging synergies between innovative actors and knowledge providers, irrespective of space, might serve better for the fuller development of the firms and also the developing national innovation system.