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Managing competences in entrepreneurial technology firms: a comparative institutional analysis of Germany, Sweden and the UK

Author

Listed:
  • Steven Casper
  • Richard Whitley

Abstract

Innovative firms face two major kinds of risks in developing new technologies: competence destruction and appropriability. High levels of technical uncertainty and radical changes in knowledge in some fields generate high technical failure risks and make it difficult to plan research and development programmes. They therefore encourage high levels of flexibility in acquiring and using skilled staff. Appropriability risks, on the other hand, encourage innovative firms to develop organisation-specific competences through investing in complementary assets, such as marketing and distribution capabilities, that involve longer-term employer-employee commitments to building complex organisations. These connections between technology risks and employment policies help to explain why different kinds of market economies with contrasting labour market institutions develop varied innovation patterns. This study focuses on subsectors of the computer software and biotechnology industries in three distinct Europea n countries, UK, Germany and Sweden, that vary in their level of technical change and appropriability.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Casper & Richard Whitley, 2002. "Managing competences in entrepreneurial technology firms: a comparative institutional analysis of Germany, Sweden and the UK," Working Papers wp230, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp230
    Note: PRO-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven Casper & Mark Lehrer & David Soskice, 1999. "Can High-technology Industries Prosper in Germany? Institutional Frameworks and the Evolution of the German Software and Biotechnology Industries," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 5-24.
    2. Kitschelt, Herbert, 1991. "Industrial governance structures, innovation strategies, and the case of Japan: sectoral or cross-national comparative analysis?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(04), pages 453-493, September.
    3. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
    4. David J. TEECE, 2008. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Transfer And Licensing Of Know-How And Intellectual Property Understanding the Multinational Enterprise in the Modern World, chapter 5, pages 67-87 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Henrik Glimstedt, 2001. "Competitive Dynamics Of Technological Standardization: The Case Of Third Generation Cellular Communications," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 49-78.
    6. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    7. David Soskice, 1997. "German technology policy, innovation, and national institutional frameworks," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 75-96.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Whitley, Richard, 2003. "Competition and pluralism in the public sciences: the impact of institutional frameworks on the organisation of academic science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1015-1029, June.
    2. Massón Guerra, José Luis, 2007. "El capital empresarial como determinante de la productividad y el crecimiento en España
      [The Impact of Entrepreneurship Capital on Spanish's Labor Productivity and Economic Growth]
      ," MPRA Paper 4073, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ibert, Oliver, 2004. "Projects and firms as discordant complements: organisational learning in the Munich software ecology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1529-1546, December.
    4. Laforet, Sylvie, 2013. "Organizational innovation outcomes in SMEs: Effects of age, size, and sector," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 490-502.
    5. Hugh Whittaker & Philippe Byosiere & Junpe Higuchi & Thelma Quince, 2006. "Entrepreneurs, HRM Orientations and Environmental Fit: A UK-Japan Comparison in High Tech Manufacturing," Working Papers wp330, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

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    Keywords

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    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems

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