Innovative activities are increasingly decentralized and globally dispersed, which provides new upgrading opportunities for emerging market firms. However, little is known about how latecomer firms (re-)organize their research and development (R&D) over time as conditions for upgrading change. This paper systematically maps the R&D networks of China’s lead firms in the wind turbine industry. The empirical findings reveal that latecomer firms not only exploit but increasingly co-create vanguard knowledge in global R&D networks through organizational diversification. Taking an evolutionary perspective, the paper extends our understanding of the changing nature of upgrading mechanisms and provides new insights into the reorganization of innovation processes in an era of technological change.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 17 Jan 2022.
- Latecomer firms
- Upgrading of innovation capabilities
- Global r&d networks
- Wind energy