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The bumpy road of technology partnerships: Understanding causes and consequences of partnership mal-functioning


  • Lokshin, Boris
  • Hagedoorn, John
  • Letterie, Wilko


Research on technological partnerships has traditionally sought explanation of their high failure rates in partner characteristics and relationship features. This study introduces the notion of a 'bumpy road' in technology partnerships which refers to undesired outcomes such as 'partnership mal-functioning' and 'instability' to the degree to which innovation activities are hampered. We explain how firm-level strategies can reduce the probability of a 'bumpy road' in partnerships. We also assess the impact of this 'bumpy road' on innovative performance. We find that firms that excel in diversification of external activities (in terms of different types of partners) perform best. Moreover, a persistent product oriented innovation strategy geared at developing new products, new markets, or higher product quality will yield more stable partnership outcomes. Our results confirm that engagement in partnerships is beneficial for innovative performance. However, firms that experienced a 'bumpy road' in their technological partnerships have to pay a price in terms of a negative effect on their innovative performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Lokshin, Boris & Hagedoorn, John & Letterie, Wilko, 2011. "The bumpy road of technology partnerships: Understanding causes and consequences of partnership mal-functioning," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 297-308, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:2:p:297-308

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    Cited by:

    1. Hottenrott, Hanna & Lopes-Bento, Cindy, 2014. "R&D partnerships and innovation performance: Can there be too much of a good thing?," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-108, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. René Belderbos & Martin Carree & Boris Lokshin & Juan Fernández Sastre, 2015. "Inter-temporal patterns of R&D collaboration and innovative performance," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 123-137, February.
    3. Taran Thune & Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2014. "Dynamics of collaboration in university–industry partnerships: do initial conditions explain development patterns?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(6), pages 977-993, December.
    4. Jeremy W. Bray & Albert N. Link, 2017. "Dynamic entrepreneurship: On the performance of U.S. research joint ventures," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 785-797, December.
    5. Enrico Guzzini & Donato Iacobucci, 2014. "The dark side of R&D collaborations," Working Papers 1405, c.MET-05 - Centro Interuniversitario di Economia Applicata alle Politiche per L'industria, lo Sviluppo locale e l'Internazionalizzazione.
    6. Małgorzata Stefania Lewandowska, 2014. "Innowacje otwarte polskich przedsiębiorstw," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 2, pages 53-80.
    7. Taran Thune & Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2016. "The impact of tensions on partnership development: a study of research and innovation partnerships in life science," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20161210, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    8. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9554-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph & Durugbo, Christopher, 2016. "The rise and fall of technology companies: The evolutional phase model of ST-Ericsson's dissolution," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 21-33.
    10. Schøtt, Thomas & Jensen, Kent Wickstrøm, 2016. "Firms’ innovation benefiting from networking and institutional support: A global analysis of national and firm effects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1233-1246.
    11. de Leeuw, Tim & Lokshin, Boris & Duysters, Geert, 2014. "Returns to alliance portfolio diversity: The relative effects of partner diversity on firm's innovative performance and productivity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(9), pages 1839-1849.
    12. Andrea Bellucci & Luca Pennacchio & Alberto Zazzaro, 2016. "Public subsidies for SME research and development: Empirical evaluation of collaborative versus individual place-based programs," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 133, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.

    More about this item


    R&D collaboration Technological performance Innovation Alliance failure;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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