Open innovation norms and knowledge transfer in interfirm technology alliances: Evidence from information technology, 1980-1999

Frankort, H. T. W. (2013). Open innovation norms and knowledge transfer in interfirm technology alliances: Evidence from information technology, 1980-1999. Advances in Strategic Management, 30, pp. 239-282. doi: 10.1108/S0742-3322(2013)0000030011

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Abstract

Firms tend to transfer more knowledge in technology joint ventures compared to contractual technology agreements. Using insights from new institutional economics, this chapter explores to what extent the alliance governance association with interfirm knowledge transfer is sensitive to an evolving industry norm of collaboration connected to the logic of open innovation. The chapter examines 1,888 dyad-year observations on firms engaged in technology alliances in the U.S. information technology industry during 1980–1999. Using fixed effects linear models, it analyzes longitudinal changes in the alliance governance association with interfirm knowledge transfer, and how such changes vary in magnitude across bilateral versus multipartner alliances, and across computers, telecommunications equipment, software, and microelectronics subsectors. Increases in industry-level alliance activity during 1980–1999 improved the knowledge transfer performance of contractual technology agreements relative to more hierarchical equity joint ventures. This effect was concentrated in bilateral rather than multipartner alliances, and in the software and microelectronics rather than computers and telecommunications equipment subsectors. Therefore, an evolving industry norm of collaboration may sometimes make more arms-length governance of a technology alliance a credible substitute for equity ownership, which can reduce the costs of interfirm R&D. Overall, the chapter shows that the performance of material practices that constitute innovation ecosystems, such as interfirm technology alliances, may differ over time subject to prevailing institutional norms of open innovation. This finding generates novel implications for the literatures on alliances, open innovation, and innovation ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: open innovation, industry norm of collaboration, technology alliance governance, multipartner alliances, interfirm knowledge transfer, information technology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Cass Business School > Faculty of Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/2962

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