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Reaching Out and Reaching Within: A Study of the Relationship between Innovation Collaboration and Innovation Performance


  • Zi-Lin He
  • Poh-Kam Wong


A large body of research has thoroughly discussed and examined agglomeration advantages for innovation of geographically concentrated firms. However, there is an increasing awareness that this intellectual tradition tends to overemphasize the role of geographic proximity in the transfer of knowledge between firms and to under-theorize the contribution of nonlocal knowledge flows. With a sample of 143 manufacturing firms from Singapore, this research attempts to answer three interrelated questions: (1) Does local networking effort provide firms with added value above and beyond what is available to them by just “being there?” (2) Does local collaboration contribute more to innovation performance than nonlocal collaboration? (3) What is the joint impact of local and nonlocal collaborations on innovation performance? We find that while local and nonlocal collaborations are statistically indistinguishable from each other in terms of their relative importance, they represent complementary spurs to innovation. Despite the unique research setting of Singapore as a city state, we argue that our findings may be generalizable to geographic systems in other parts of the world.

Suggested Citation

  • Zi-Lin He & Poh-Kam Wong, 2012. "Reaching Out and Reaching Within: A Study of the Relationship between Innovation Collaboration and Innovation Performance," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(7), pages 539-561, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:19:y:2012:i:7:p:539-561
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2012.726804

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    Cited by:

    1. Timo Mitze & Björn Alecke & Janina Reinkowski & Gerhard Untiedt, 2015. "Linking collaborative R&D strategies with the research and innovation performance of SMEs in peripheral regions: Do spatial and organizational choices make a difference?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 55(2), pages 555-596, December.
    2. Jane Bourke & Frank Crowley, 2016. "Which organisational changes are most beneficial for firm innovation?," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 152-158.
    3. Roper, Stephen & Love, James H. & Bonner, Karen, 2017. "Firms’ knowledge search and local knowledge externalities in innovation performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 43-56.
    4. Song Wei & Gao Liang & Pan Gang, 2014. "Effects of R&D Cooperation to Innovation Performance in Open Innovation Environment," International Journal of Business and Social Research, LAR Center Press, vol. 4(5), pages 151-160, May.
    5. Lei Ye & Gang Zeng & Xianzhong Cao, 2020. "Open innovation and innovative performance of universities: Evidence from China," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 1142-1157, September.
    6. Frank Crowley & Jane Bourke, 2018. "The Influence Of The Manager On Firm Innovation In Emerging Economies," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 22(03), pages 1-21, April.
    7. Bourke, Jane & Roper, Stephen, 2017. "Innovation, quality management and learning: Short-term and longer-term effects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1505-1518.
    8. Wenjing Wang, 2014. "Do specialists exit the firm outsourcing its R&D?," Economics Working Papers 2014-21, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    9. Stephen Roper & James H. Love, 2018. "Knowledge context, learning and innovation: an integrating framework," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(4), pages 339-364, April.
    10. Hervas Oliver,Jose Luis & Gonzalez,Gregorio & Caja,Pedro, 2014. "Clusters and industrial districts: where is the literature going? Identifying emerging sub-fields of research," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201409, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
    11. Song Wei & Gao Liang & Pan Gang, 2014. "Effects of R&D Cooperation to Innovation Performance in Open Innovation Environment," International Journal of Business and Social Research, MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, vol. 4(5), pages 151-160, May.
    12. Bourke, Jane & Roper, Stephen, 2016. "AMT adoption and innovation: An investigation of dynamic and complementary effects," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 55, pages 42-55.

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