Exploration or Exploitation of Knowledge from Universities: Does It Make a Difference?
In a first step, we developed based on existing theoretical and empirical literature a series of hypotheses with respect to the relative importance of possible determinants of exploration and exploitation of knowledge in collaboration with universities and tested them on Swiss firm data. In a second step, we investigated the impact on innovation performance of knowledge exploration versus knowledge exploitation. We obtained a clear pattern of the differences between ‘exploration’-oriented and ‘exploitation’-oriented firms. We found that exploration-oriented firms have a greater knowledge absorptive capacity, are technologically more diverse, and they are less exposed to intensive price competition compared to exploitation-oriented firms. We further found a positive effect on innovation performance for exploration-oriented firms but not for those that were exploration-oriented.
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