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Multinational subsidiary knowledge protection—Do mandates and clusters matter?

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  • Sofka, Wolfgang
  • Shehu, Edlira
  • de Faria, Pedro

Abstract

International knowledge spillovers, especially through multinational companies (MNCs), have recently been a major topic of academic and management debate. However, most studies treat MNC subsidiaries as relatively passive actors. We challenge this assumption by investigating the drivers of knowledge protection intensity of MNC subsidiaries. We argue that knowledge protection intensity is determined by MNC subsidiary mandates and by opportunities and risks originating from the host region. We hypothesize that not just competence-creating but also competence-exploiting mandates increase knowledge protection intensity. In addition, technological cluster regions in the host country can be expected to provide opportunities for knowledge sourcing and MNC subsidiaries may be willing to protect knowledge less intensively to participate in cluster networks. We test our hypotheses using a dataset of 694 observations of 631 MNC subsidiaries in Germany and develop recommendations for research, managers and policy makers.

Suggested Citation

  • Sofka, Wolfgang & Shehu, Edlira & de Faria, Pedro, 2014. "Multinational subsidiary knowledge protection—Do mandates and clusters matter?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1320-1333.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:43:y:2014:i:8:p:1320-1333
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.05.006
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    1. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1810-1823 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bos, Brenda & Broekhuizen, Thijs L.J. & de Faria, Pedro, 2015. "A dynamic view on secrecy management," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2619-2627.
    3. Achcaoucaou, Fariza & Miravitlles, Paloma & León-Darder, Fidel, 2017. "Do we really know the predictors of competence-creating R&D subsidiaries? Uncovering the mediation of dual network embeddedness," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 181-195.
    4. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:3:p:558-572 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lucia P. BLĂJUȚ, 2014. "Multinational Companies And Foreign Direct Investment," SEA - Practical Application of Science, Fundația Română pentru Inteligența Afacerii, Editorial Department, issue 5, pages 143-148, November.
    6. Driffield, Nigel & Love, James H. & Yang, Yong, 2016. "Reverse international knowledge transfer in the MNE: (Where) does affiliate performance boost parent performance?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 491-506.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Knowledge protection; Multinational companies; patenting;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • 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
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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