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Developing innovative competences: the role of institutional frameworks


  • Richard Whitley


The recent development of the biotechnology and computer industries has highlighted the variety of ways in which firms in different countries and sectors can develop innovative competences. Four aspects are particularly important: the degree of involvement in the public science system, involvement in industry collaborations, reliance on specialist skills of individuals, and the ability to change collective competences radically. National and regional variations in these result from differences in dominant institutional frameworks. In addition to the organization of capital and labour markets and the structure of inter-firm relations, these frameworks include the nature of the public science system. Particularly important features of these systems include: the organization of research training, the flexibility of researchers and organizations in developing novel goals and approaches, the organization of scientific careers, and the prevalent science and technology policies of the state. Distinct combinations of these institutional features have become established in different market economies and led to contrasting styles of innovative competence development being adopted. These in turn help to explain continuing variations in patterns of technological change between countries. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Whitley, 2002. "Developing innovative competences: the role of institutional frameworks," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 497-528, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:11:y:2002:i:3:p:497-528

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nathan ROSENBERG, 2009. "Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Studies On Science And The Innovation Process Selected Works of Nathan Rosenberg, chapter 11, pages 225-234 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Charlène Lambert & Albéric Tellier, 2015. "Quel rôle peut jouer un syndicat professionnel dans un réseau inter-organisationnel innovant ? Le cas de l'Union Nationale des Entreprises de Paysage," Post-Print hal-01488067, HAL.
    2. Jan Fagerberg & David C Mowery & Bart Verspagen, 2009. "The evolution of Norway's national innovation system," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(6), pages 431-444, July.
    3. Jorge Luis Juliao Rossi & Fernando Barrios Aguirre & Jana Schmutzler & Iván Darío Sánchez Manchola, 2013. "Relación entre la estrategia de innovación de la firma y su decisión de patentar: evidencia de empresas pertenecientes al sector manufacturero colombiano," ESTUDIOS GERENCIALES, UNIVERSIDAD ICESI, September.
    4. Simone Strambach, 2010. "Path Dependence and Path Plasticity: The Co-evolution of Institutions and Innovation – the German Customized Business Software Industry," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 19 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2011. "Research institutes as hybrid organizations: central challenges to their legitimacy," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 44(3), pages 215-230, September.
    6. Tim Goydke, 2011. "Institutional Change and the Role of Government: Technology Policy in Japan and Korea," Chapters,in: Institutional Variety in East Asia, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2012. "The co-evolution of research institutes with universities and user needs: a historical perspective," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20120321, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    8. Goel, Rajeev K. & Saunoris, James W., 2016. "Institutional path dependence and international research intensity," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 851-858.
    9. Richard Whitley & William Kelly & Diana Sharpe, 2003. "The Changing Japanese Multinational: Application, Adaptation and Learning in Car Manufacturing and Financial Services," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 643-672, May.
    10. Massimo Cermelli & Pier Francesco Asso & Vito Pipitone, 2013. "Strategies to innovate in SMEs: analyzing the key factors of internationalization and interaction in Basque and Sicilian firms," ERSA conference papers ersa13p649, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Lam, Alice, 2008. "The Tacit Knowledge Problem in Multinational Corporations: Japanese and US Offshore Knowledge Incubators," MPRA Paper 11487, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Boguslaw Plawgo & Magdalena Klimczuk-Kochanska, 2015. "Types and sources of innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (Rodzaje a zrodla innowacji w malych i srednich przedsiebiorstwach)," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 13(50), pages 197-219.
    13. Cantwell, John & Vertova, Giovanna, 2004. "Historical evolution of technological diversification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 511-529, April.
    14. Casper, Steven & Whitley, Richard, 2004. "Managing competences in entrepreneurial technology firms: a comparative institutional analysis of Germany, Sweden and the UK," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 89-106, January.
    15. Greeven, M.J. & Xiaodong, Z., 2009. "Developing Innovative Competences in an Emerging Business System: New Private Enterprises in Hangzhou’s Software Industry," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2009-045-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    16. Santamaría Sánchez, Luis & Nieto Sánchez, María Jesús, 2005. "Novelty of product innovation : the role of different networks," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb056516, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    17. Lynskey, Michael J., 2006. "Transformative technology and institutional transformation: Coevolution of biotechnology venture firms and the institutional framework in Japan," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1389-1422, November.
    18. repec:spr:scient:v:97:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1055-z is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Evelien Lambrecht & Nicole Taragola & Bianka Kühne & Maarten Crivits & Xavier Gellynck, 2015. "Networking and innovation within the ornamental plant sector," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, December.
    20. repec:spr:agfoec:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Raúl Serrano & Isabel Acero-Fraile & Natalia Dejo-Oricain, 2017. "Collaborative networks and export intensity in family firms: a quantile regression approach," Documentos de Trabajo dt2017-04, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.

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