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Managing external knowledge flows: The moderating role of absorptive capacity

  • Escribano, Alvaro
  • Fosfuri, Andrea
  • Tribó, Josep A.

In this paper, we argue that those firms with higher levels of absorptive capacity can manage external knowledge flows more efficiently, and stimulate innovative outcomes. We test this contention with a sample of 2265 Spanish firms, drawn from the Community Innovation Surveys (CIS) for 2000 and 2002, produced by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE). We find that absorptive capacity is indeed an important source of competitive advantage, especially in sectors characterized by turbulent knowledge and strong intellectual property rights protection. The implications for management practice and policy are also discussed.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 96-105

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:1:p:96-105
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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  1. Cockburn, Iain M & Henderson, Rebecca M, 1998. "Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 157-82, June.
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  7. Keller, Wolfgang, 1996. "Absorptive capacity: On the creation and acquisition of technology in development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 199-227, April.
  8. Catherine Beaudry & Stefano Breschi, 2003. "Are firms in clusters really more innovative?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 325-342.
  9. Giuliani, Elisa & Bell, Martin, 2005. "The micro-determinants of meso-level learning and innovation: evidence from a Chilean wine cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 47-68, February.
  10. Mowery, David C & Oxley, Joanne E, 1995. "Inward Technology Transfer and Competitiveness: The Role of National Innovation Systems," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 67-93, February.
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  12. Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1994. "Evaluating technological information and utilizing it : Scientific knowledge, technological capability, and external linkages in biotechnology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 91-114, June.
  13. William P. Barnett & Olav Sorenson, 2002. "The Red Queen in organizational creation and development," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 289-325.
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  15. Lionel Nesta & Pier Paolo Saviotti, 2005. "COHERENCE OF THE KNOWLEDGE BASE AND THE FIRM'S INNOVATIVE PERFORMANCE: EVIDENCE FROM THE U.S. PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 123-142, 03.
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  17. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297.
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