R&D Collaboration by SMEs: new opportunities and limitations in the face of globalisation
AbstractGlobalisation has systemically affected the way all firms undertake innovation. First, there has been a growing use of non-internal technology development, both by outsourcing and strategic alliances. Second, products are increasingly multi-technology. This has led to the growing use of networks by all firms, previously a primary competitive advantage of SMEs. These developments have created both opportunities and threats for the SME. On the one hand, large firms have increasingly sought out SMEs as they have developed their use of external networks. On the other hand, by doing so, larger firms are able to avail themselves of the flexibility long-enjoyed by SMEs. This is particularly so in the electronics hardware-based sector, where we have evaluated the R&D activities of both large and small firms. Although SMEs continue to have the advantages of flexibility and rapid response, the traditional disadvantages due to size limitations may have worsened due to the demand for multiple technological competences and by increased cross-border competition.
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