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Balancing Internal and External Knowledge Acquisition: The Gains and Pains from R&D Outsourcing

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  • Christoph Grimpe
  • Ulrich Kaiser

Abstract

The outsourcing of research and development (R&D) activities has frequently been characterized as an important instrument to acquire external technological knowledge that is subsequently integrated into a firm's own knowledge base. However, in this paper we argue that these 'gains' from R&D outsourcing need to be balanced against the 'pains' that stem from a dilution of firm-specific resources, the deterioration of integrative capabilities and the high demands on management attention. Based on a panel dataset of innovating firms in Germany, we find evidence for an inverse U-shaped relationship between R&D outsourcing and innovation performance. This relationship is positively moderated by the extent to which firms engage in internal R&D and by the breadth of formal R&D collaborations: both serve as an instrument to increase the effectiveness of R&D outsourcing. Copyright (c) 2010 ZEW Centre for European Economic Research. Journal of Management Studies (c) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

Volume (Year): 47 (2010)
Issue (Month): s2 (December)
Pages: 1483-1509

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:s2:p:1483-1509

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2380

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Cited by:
  1. Sverre Herstad & Øyvind Pålshaugen & Bernd Ebersberger, 2011. "Industrial Innovation Collaboration in a Capital Region Context," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 507-532, December.
  2. Amoroso, S., 2013. "Heterogeneity of innovative, collaborative, and productive firm-level processes," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5663713, Tilburg University.
  3. Hoewer, Daniel & Schmidt, Tobias & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2011. "An information economics perspective on main bank relationships and firm R&D," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-055, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Grimpe, Christoph & Hussinger, Katrin, 2014. "Pre-empted patents, infringed patents and firms’ participation in markets for technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 543-554.
  5. Herstad, Sverre J. & Aslesen, Heidi Wiig & Ebersberger, Bernd, 2014. "On industrial knowledge bases, commercial opportunities and global innovation network linkages," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 495-504.
  6. Baier, Elisabeth & Rammer, Christian & Schuber, Torben, 2013. "The impact on innovation off-shoring on organizational adaptability," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-109, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Castellani, Davide & Pieri, Fabio, 2013. "R&D offshoring and the productivity growth of European regions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1581-1594.
  8. Rexhäuser, Sascha & Rammer, Christian, 2011. "Unmasking the Porter hypothesis: Environmental innovations and firm-profitability," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Bönte, Werner & Dienes, Christian, 2012. "Energy and Material Efficiency Innovations: The Relevance of Innovation Strategies," Schumpeter Discussion Papers sdp12001, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  10. Ghisetti, Claudia & Rennings, Klaus, 2013. "Environmental innovations and profitability: How does it pay to be green? An empirical analysis on the German innovation survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-073, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Peukert, Christian, 2011. "External technology supply and client-side innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-082, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Mukherjee, Debmalya & Gaur, Ajai S. & Datta, Avimanyu, 2013. "Creating value through offshore outsourcing: An integrative framework," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 377-389.

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