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Beyond technological catch-up: An empirical investigation of further innovative capability accumulation outcomes in latecomer firms with evidence from Brazil

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  • Figueiredo, Paulo N.

    ()
    (EBAPE, Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration)

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    Abstract

    This article examines outcomes that are achieved by latecomer firms from the accumulation of innovative capabilities. Drawing on fieldwork evidence from pulp and paper firms in Brazil (1950-2010), it was found that: (1) the firms accumulated innovative capabilities that turned them into world leaders in the segment of the global pulp and paper industry based on eucalyptus forestry; (2) besides this technological catch-up, the accumulation of these innovative capabilities resulted in outcomes that generated benefits within these firms such as (i) implemented inventive and innovative activities; (ii) consistent improvement of several parameters of operational and environment-related performance; (iii) varied patterns of corporate growth; (3) these outcomes were achieved not only by research-based and patent-related capabilities but mainly by a mix of innovative capability levels, with differing degrees of novelty and complexity for diverse technological functions. Therefore, the accumulation of a wide range of types and levels of innovative capabilities does pay off for the innovative firms, their industries and, ultimately, their economies. By combining a novel approach to examining firm capabilities with findings from an inductive fieldwork, this article provides new empirical and methodological insights for the long-standing debate on innovative capabilities as the fundamental source of firm competitive performance. The article draws managers' attention to the importance of a multiplicity of types and levels of capabilities to achieve relevant outcomes, and policy makers in developing economies to adopt a comprehensive view on innovative activities and place firm-centred innovation capability accumulation at the centre of industrial innovation policies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 048.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2013048

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    Keywords: innovative capability accumulation; latecomer firms; catch-up; competitive performance; Brazil;

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    1. Michiel Van Dijk & Martin Bell, 2007. "Rapid Growth with Limited Learning: Industrial Policy and Indonesia's Pulp and Paper Industry," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 149-169.
    2. Amsden, Alice H. & Tschang, F. Ted, 2003. "A new approach to assessing the technological complexity of different categories of R&D (with examples from Singapore)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 553-572, April.
    3. Boehe, Dirk Michael, 2007. "Product development in MNC subsidiaries: Local linkages and global interdependencies," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 488-512, December.
    4. Norlela Ariffin & Paulo Figueiredo, 2004. "Internationalization of innovative capabilities: counter-evidence from the electronics industry in Malaysia and Brazil," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 559-583.
    5. Norlela Ariffin, 2010. "Internationalisation of technological innovative capabilities: levels, types and speed (learning rates) in the electronics industry in Malaysia," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(4), pages 347-391.
    6. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
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