Emerging Strategies for Matching Distant Knowledge with Existing Innovation Capabilities

Alexander Stern

    Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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    This thesis pursues the question of how technology-intensive firms can match knowledge from outside of the organization which is distant from their current technology/product/market context with their existing routines and capabilities. The focus of the study is motivated both by theoretical and phenomenological ambiguity and uncertainty. From a phenomenological point of view on the one hand, innovation processes have been opening up, moving from hierarchy-based forms of organizing R&D to more market-based forms. This disaggregation demands of technology-intensive firms to search and apply knowledge from outside of the boundaries of the firm. In addition, technology convergence and divergence dynamics entail that the knowledge sourced is increasingly distant from the current technology/product/market context of the firm. However, technology-intensive firms are facing severe difficulties to reconcile such distant knowledge with their existing routines and processes. Failure to appropriate distant knowledge, in the extreme, can lead to firm failure. The speed of such failure, in the last decades, has increased considerably. From a theoretical perspective, on the other hand, strategy, organizational economics and innovation management literature has long recognized the path dependence and inertia in the face of change imposed by a firm’s current routines. This is caused by a focus on exploitation and efficiency in order to protect current revenue streams from competitive forces. The question of how the constraints on innovation due to current routines can be overcome has been neglected relative to other question in the relevant literature. Thus, the question of how distant, novel knowledge can be effectively matched is warranted both from a phenomenological and theoretical perspective.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
    Number of pages204
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    SeriesPhD series

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