K.U.Leuven - Departement toegepaste economische wetenschappen
DTEW Research Report 0554 pages:1-52
In this study, we examine the initiation and evolution of interfirm learning in interfirm R&D relationships. Based on in-depth case studies, we suggest that the process of learning in interfirm R&D relationships consists of different challenges: 1) initiating technological knowledge transfer, 2) continuing technological knowledge transfer, and 3) moving towards the joint creation of new technological knowledge. Our findings identify conditions needed to initiate knowledge transfer: the presence of legal knowledge transfer clauses, overlapping skills and equipment, fragile trust and organizational similarity. The continuance of knowledge exchange implies complementary modes of collaborating characterized by sharing technologies which are oriented towards different applications. Joint knowledge creation implies convergence on the level of applications which only becomes feasible when prior knowledge exchange processes have generated resilient levels of trust. These observations point to the relevance of conceiving and organizing interfirm R&D relationships in a timephased, differentiated manner.