Knowledge Accession Strategies and the Spatial Organization of R&D

John Cantwell and Feng Zhang

in Innovation and Growth

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646685
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748998 | DOI:
Knowledge Accession Strategies and the Spatial Organization of R&D

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This study investigates the technological knowledge accumulation pattern of the world’s largest firms in the electrical equipment (EE) industry. The study founds that a firm’s ability to integrate technologically diversified knowledge and its ability to access geographically dispersed knowledge can, respectively, enhance the firm’s performance. Yet firms may face a potential tradeoff between these two types of capabilities. Moreover, EE firms with broader technological knowledge portfolios, which we have termed ‘generalists’, have on average enjoyed a better performance than firms with a narrower technological knowledge base, namely ‘specialists’. The findings of this study generate important insights on how the accession and utilization of geographically dispersed technological knowledge affect corporate-level innovative performance. This study further contributes to a better understanding of firm heterogeneity in the structures of international knowledge accumulation within the same industry.

Keywords: knowledge accumulation; diversified knowledge; geographically dispersed knowledge; innovative performance; firm heterogeneity

Chapter.  8812 words. 

Subjects: Financial Markets

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