Selective Search, Sectoral Patterns, and the Impact on Product Innovation Performance

Christian Köhler, Wolfgang Sofka, Christoph Grimpe

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    The shift toward more open and interconnected innovation activities has been a major topic in recent academic and practitioner discussions. Firms must connect their in-house R&D activities with external partners, such as leading customers or universities, to increase the effectiveness of their innovation activities. Hence, management needs to define where to search for valuable knowledge in its environment. In this paper we argue that knowledge search has to reflect the heterogeneity of various knowledge sources with regard to the knowledge they can provide and how these sources can be activated. We hypothesize that search strategies driven by science, suppliers and the product market will contribute differently to innovation success with new-to-market versus imitated products. Moreover, we explore the effect of these types of knowledge search within different sectoral patterns of innovation. Our empirical analysis rests on a sample of almost 5000 firms from five Western European countries. The results support our hypotheses and highlight the potentials and shortcomings of different types of knowledge search.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalResearch Policy
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)1344–1356
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Knowledge Search
    • Sectoral Innovation Patterns
    • New-to-Market Innovation
    • Imitation

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