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Managing competences in entrepreneurial technology firms: a comparative institutional analysis of Germany, Sweden and the UK

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  • Steven Casper
  • Richard Whitley
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    Abstract

    Innovative firms face two major kinds of risks in developing new technologies: competence destruction and appropriability. High levels of technical uncertainty and radical changes in knowledge in some fields generate high technical failure risks and make it difficult to plan research and development programmes. They therefore encourage high levels of flexibility in acquiring and using skilled staff. Appropriability risks, on the other hand, encourage innovative firms to develop organisation-specific competences through investing in complementary assets, such as marketing and distribution capabilities, that involve longer-term employer-employee commitments to building complex organisations. These connections between technology risks and employment policies help to explain why different kinds of market economies with contrasting labour market institutions develop varied innovation patterns. This study focuses on subsectors of the computer software and biotechnology industries in three distinct Europea n countries, UK, Germany and Sweden, that vary in their level of technical change and appropriability.

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    File URL: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/pdf/WP230.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp230.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp230

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    Web page: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/

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    References

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    1. Henrik Glimstedt, 2001. "Competitive Dynamics Of Technological Standardization: The Case Of Third Generation Cellular Communications," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 49-78.
    2. David Soskice, 1997. "German technology policy, innovation, and national institutional frameworks," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 75-96.
    3. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
    4. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
    5. Steven Casper & Mark Lehrer & David Soskice, 1999. "Can High-technology Industries Prosper in Germany? Institutional Frameworks and the Evolution of the German Software and Biotechnology Industries," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 5-24.
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    Cited by:
    1. Laforet, Sylvie, 2013. "Organizational innovation outcomes in SMEs: Effects of age, size, and sector," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 490-502.
    2. Whitley, Richard, 2003. "Competition and pluralism in the public sciences: the impact of institutional frameworks on the organisation of academic science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1015-1029, June.
    3. Ibert, Oliver, 2004. "Projects and firms as discordant complements: organisational learning in the Munich software ecology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1529-1546, December.
    4. Hugh Whittaker & Philippe Byosiere & Junpe Higuchi & Thelma Quince, 2006. "Entrepreneurs, HRM Orientations and Environmental Fit: A UK-Japan Comparison in High Tech Manufacturing," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp330, ESRC Centre for Business Research.

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