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Geography of Knowledge Sourcing, Search Breadth and Depth Patterns, and Innovative Performance: A Firm Heterogeneity Perspective


  • Cassandra C Wang

    (Department of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China)


The geography of knowledge sourcing has attracted much attention as firms increasingly rely on external knowledge to accelerate innovation. However, the existing literature has been silent about the way in which firms utilize external knowledge and has largely neglected firm heterogeneity in geographical knowledge sourcing. This paper established a geographical search model by combining geographical scales of knowledge sourcing with firm-level knowledge search strategies to investigate the differentiated knowledge search patterns and innovation dynamics between technological leaders and laggards with survey data from Zhejiang, one of the leading provinces in China. It is found that, while a broad search of local knowledge contributes to product innovation by technological laggards, it exerts no significant influence on technological leaders whose innovation depends more upon a nonlocal variety of knowledge sources. The findings highlight the uneven and selective knowledge flows within a cluster and question the importance of localized strong ties in innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassandra C Wang, 2015. "Geography of Knowledge Sourcing, Search Breadth and Depth Patterns, and Innovative Performance: A Firm Heterogeneity Perspective," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 47(3), pages 744-761, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:47:y:2015:i:3:p:744-761

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    Cited by:

    1. Gölgeci, Ismail & Ferraris, Alberto & Arslan, Ahmad & Tarba, Shlomo Y., 2019. "European MNE subsidiaries' embeddedness and innovation performance: Moderating role of external search depth and breadth," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 97-108.
    2. Loris Servillo & Rob Atkinson & Abdelillah Hamdouch & Aiqi Wu & Cassandra C. Wang, 2017. "Knowledge Search Pattern and Product Innovation of Firms in Low and High-Technology Industrial Clusters: A Knowledge Relatedness Perspective," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 108(4), pages 488-502, September.
    3. Xiyao Xiang & Wei-Chiao Huang, 2019. "Does Distance Affect the Role of Nonlocal Subsidiaries on Cluster Firms’ Innovation? An Empirical Investigation on Chinese Biotechnology Cluster Firms," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(23), pages 1-18, November.


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