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Inter-firm Collaboration and Technology Development Partnerships Within US Manufacturing Industries


  • David Angel


The paper examines the conditions under which firms enter into technology development partnerships with customers, suppliers and other firms. Three conceptual approaches to inter-firm collaboration are examined, namely: transactions costs theory; resource-strategy theories of the firm; and network theory. Drawing upon data collected in a mailed questionnaire survey of US manufacturing establishments in the chemical, electronics and instruments industries, I assess empirically various determinants of inter-firm collaboration in technology development. The empirical work suggests that large firms, and firms located in major urban centres, are more likely to enter into technology development partnerships. Firms located in a specialized industrial agglomeration do not demonstrate a greater propensity toward entering into technology development partnerships with customers, suppliers or other firms. Cet article cherche a examiner les conditions sous lesquelles les entreprises concluent des partenariats technologiques avec des clients, des fournisseurs ou d'autres entreprises. On examine trois facons conceptuelles d'aborder la collaboration inter-entreprise, a savoir des theories sur les frais de transactions, apropos de l'entreprise quant a sa strategie de ressources, et au sujet de la notion de reseaux. Puisant dans des donnees provenant d'un questionnaire aupres des etablissements dans la chimie, l'electronique et les instruments situes aux Etats-Unis, on evalue empiriquement divers determinants de la collaboration inter-entreprise technologique. Le travail empirique laisse supposer que les grandes entreprises, et les entreprises implantees dans les principaux centres urbains, sont plus susceptibles de conclure des partenariats technologiques. Les entreprises implantees dans des technopoles ne montrent pas une propension plus elevee a conclure des partenariats technologiques avec des clients, des fournisseurs ou d'autres entreprises. Der Aufsatz untersucht die Bedingungen, unter denen Firmen Partnerschaften mit Kunden, Lieferanten oder anderen Firmen zwecks Technologieentwicklung eingehen. Es werden drei begriffliche Ansatze zur zwischenbetrieblichen Zusammenarbeit untersucht: die Theorie der Transaktionskosten, die Theorie der Ressourcenstrategie und die Netzwerktheorie. Mit Hilfe von Daten fur die Untersuchung von Herstellerunternehmen der chemischen, elektronischen und Instrumentenbauindustrien in den USA werden verschiedene Bestimmungsfaktoren zwischenbetrieblicher Zusammenarbeit bei der Technologieentwicklung empirisch untersucht. Die empirische Studie deutet an, dass es grosse Firmen, und Firmen mit Standort in grosseren Stadtzentren sind, die Partnerschaften zwecks Technologieentwicklung eingehen. Firmen, deren Standort sich in spezialisierten Industrieagglomeraten befinden, zeigen keine auffallende Neigung, sich mit Kunden, Lieferanten oder anderen Firmen zwecks partnerschaftlicher Technologieentwicklung zu alliieren.

Suggested Citation

  • David Angel, 2002. "Inter-firm Collaboration and Technology Development Partnerships Within US Manufacturing Industries," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 333-344.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:36:y:2002:i:4:p:333-344 DOI: 10.1080/00343400220131115

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reinhold Grotz & Boris Braun, 1997. "Territorial or Trans-territorial Networking: Spatial Aspects of Technology-oriented Cooperation within the German Mechanical Engineering Industry," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 545-557.
    2. Mowery, David C. & Oxley, Joanne E. & Silverman, Brian S., 1998. "Technological overlap and interfirm cooperation: implications for the resource-based view of the firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 507-523, September.
    3. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-185, March.
    4. John Hagedoorn & Rajneesh Narula, 1996. "Choosing Organizational Modes of Strategic Technology Partnering: International and Sectoral Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 27(2), pages 265-284, June.
    5. Roberta Capello, 1999. "Spatial Transfer of Knowledge in High Technology Milieux: Learning Versus Collective Learning Processes," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 353-365.
    6. Oerlemans, L.A.G. & Meeus, M.T.H. & Boekema, F.W.M., 2001. "On spatial embeddedness of innovation networks : An exploration of the proximity effect," Other publications TiSEM 05a1ad7e-a27e-4ef0-85c5-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Chang-Yang, 2009. "Do firms in clusters invest in R&D more intensively? Theory and evidence from multi-country data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1159-1171, September.
    2. Christian Schröder, 2014. "Dynamics in ICT cooperation networks in selected German ICT clusters," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 197-230, February.
    3. Chiara Franco & Manuela Gussoni, 2014. "The role of firm and national level factors in fostering R&D cooperation: a cross country comparison," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(6), pages 945-976, December.
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:75:y:2008:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-007-1857-y is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Roel Rutten & Irawati Dessy, 2011. "Knowledge Creation In Temporary Regional Networks," ERSA conference papers ersa10p535, European Regional Science Association.
    6. 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).
    7. Franz Toedtling & Patrick Lehner, 2006. "Do Different Types of Innovation Require Specific Kinds of Knowledge Links?," ERSA conference papers ersa06p513, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Hornych, Christoph & Brachert, Matthias, 2010. "Determinanten der Vernetzung von Unternehmen der deutschen Photovoltaik-Industrie," IWH Discussion Papers 20/2010, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    9. Tödtling, Franz & Lehner, Patrick & Kaufmann, Alexander, 2008. "Do different types of innovation rely on specific kinds of knowledge interactions?," SRE-Discussion Papers 306, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    10. Mark Freel & Richard Harrison, 2006. "Innovation and cooperation in the small firm sector: Evidence from 'Northern Britain'," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 289-305.


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