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Strategic Sourcing of R&D: The Determinants of Success


  • Jacques Brook

    (Faculty of Strategy, Marketing and International Business, Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands.)

  • Albert Plugge

    (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.)


The outsourcing of the R&D function is an emerging practice of corporate firms. In their attempt to reduce the increasing cost of research and technology development, firms are strategically outsourcing the R&D function or repositioning their internal R&D organisation. By doing so, they are able to benefit from other technology sources around the world. So far, there is only limited research on how firms develop their R&D sourcing strategies and how these strategies are implemented. This study aims to identify which determinants contribute to the success of R&D sourcing strategies. The results of our empirical research indicate that a clear vision of how to manage innovation strategically on a corporate level is a determinant of an effective R&D strategy. Moreover, our findings revealed that the R&D sourcing strategy influences a firm’s sourcing capabilities. These sourcing capabilities need to be developed to manage the demand as well as the supply of R&D services. The alignment between the demand capabilities and the supply capabilities contributes to the success of R&D sourcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacques Brook & Albert Plugge, 2011. "Strategic Sourcing of R&D: The Determinants of Success," Working Papers 2011/06, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2011/06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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..
    2. Narula, Rajneesh, 1999. "Choosing between internal and non-internal R&D activities: some technological and economic factors," Research Memorandum 022, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Dieter Ernst, 2000. "Inter-Organizational Knowledge Outsourcing: What Permits Small Taiwanese Firms to Compete in the Computer Industry?," Economics Study Area Working Papers 01, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
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    More about this item


    Sourcing strategies; R&D; outsourcing; capabilities.;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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