Development of Absorptive Capacity over Time and across Boundaries: The Case of R&D consortia

Omid Omidvar, Jakob Edler, Khaleel Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Absorptive capacity (AC) has been identified as the ability of firms to acquire, assimilate, and apply external knowledge, and thus as a pre-condition for learning from external knowledge. However, extant literature has focused on AC as (1) a static and (2) a firm-centred concept. In particular, there is little conceptual framing and empirical evidence of how AC develops over time and across boundaries. Taking R&D consortia as the unit of analysis and based on insights from three in-depth case studies of collaborative R&D, our contribution is a framework for AC development over time and across inter-organizational, intra-organizational, and practice boundaries at different stages of collaboration in R&D consortia. Using this framework, we identify a set of mechanisms which enable the development of AC and we discuss the preconditions for these mechanisms. For R&D managers, our research implies that in order to enhance effectiveness of knowledge transfer and learning in R&D consortia they need to develop a strategy that (1) supports learning and AC development throughout the whole cycle of the collaboration, not only by focusing on intra-firm capabilities, but in particular by providing flexible interfaces for overcoming a variety of interaction and learning boundaries between heterogeneous R&D partners, and (2) enables the integration of created and acquired knowledge within the organization once the collaboration is over.
Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Long Range Planning. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Long Range Planning, [50, 5, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2017.02.007

 

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-683
Number of pages19
JournalLong Range Planning
Volume50
Issue number5
Early online date15 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Long Range Planning. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Long Range Planning, [50, 5, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2017.02.007

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

  • Absorptive Capacity
  • Boundaries
  • R&D consortia
  • Case study

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