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Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation

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  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich

Abstract

In the past, most industrial firms focused on internally exploiting technological knowledge in their own products. By contrast, external technology exploitation through out-licensing was primarily an entry mode into foreign markets or into product markets for which a firm had limited complementary assets. Outward technology transfer was mainly regarded as a substitute for foreign direct investment and for a firm's internal product business. The recent trend towards active licensing questions this traditional role of international licensing. To overcome the focus on market entry in prior research, we analyze the motives for technology licensing. On this basis, we use data from 152 firms to test six hypotheses relating product diversification, technological diversification, and foreign direct investment to the extent of technology out-licensing, considering technological turbulence as a moderator. The results provide support for a capability-based understanding of technology licensing, and they may lead us to fundamentally rethink traditional assumptions on the relation between product marketing, foreign direct investment, and licensing.

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  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, 2009. "Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 407-420, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:44:y:2009:i:4:p:407-420
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