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How firms collaborate with public research organizations: The evolution of proximity dimensions in successful innovation projects

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  • Steinmo, Marianne
  • Rasmussen, Einar

Abstract

Although public research organizations (PROs) are potentially valuable collaboration partners for firms in the development of innovations, most firms find it difficult to develop and sustain fruitful collaborations with PROs. Proximity dimensions, such as geographical, cognitive, organizational, and social proximity, are important facilitators of inter-organizational collaboration. Nevertheless, our understanding of the interaction between and evolution of different proximity dimensions over time is limited. Based on a longitudinal study of 15 successful innovation projects involving firms and PROs as collaboration partners, we find that different proximity dimensions are important for the establishment of new collaborations, depending on a firm's characteristics. While engineering-based firms tend to rely on geographical and social proximity to PROs, science-based firms rely more heavily on cognitive and organizational proximity. Moreover, we observe that firms with initial social and geographical proximity to PROs can sustain and expand their collaborations by developing cognitive and organizational proximity over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Steinmo, Marianne & Rasmussen, Einar, 2016. "How firms collaborate with public research organizations: The evolution of proximity dimensions in successful innovation projects," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 1250-1259.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:69:y:2016:i:3:p:1250-1259 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.09.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rune Dahl Fitjar & Franz Huber & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2016. "Not too close, not too far: testing the Goldilocks principle of ‘optimal’ distance in innovation networks," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 465-487, August.
    2. Villani, Elisa & Rasmussen, Einar & Grimaldi, Rosa, 2017. "How intermediary organizations facilitate university–industry technology transfer: A proximity approach," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 86-102.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Engineering-based firms; Innovation projects; Proximity dimensions; Public research organizations; Science-based firms; Universities;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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