Large players in the nanogame: dedicated nanotech subsidiaries or distributed nanotech capabilities?
Nanotechnologies are reshaping the boundaries between industries, combining two aspects of innovation - both enhancing competences based on cumulative knowledge and experience and destroying competences by forcing the renewal of the firm's knowledge base. To analyze how worldwide R&D leaders adapt to this new technology, we conduct an econometric analysis of about 3,000 subsidiaries of the largest R&D spenders. We find that large groups are creating medium size subsidiary companies to explore nanotechnologies. Knowledge circulates mostly amongst subsidiaries within the same group and scientific clusters do not affect their involvement in nanotechnologies. Nanotechnologies remain marginal within these subsidiaries' knowledge bases and are distributed within corporate groups, stimulating recombination between nanotechnology and other technologies
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