What Drives the Delegation of Innovation Decisions? The Roles of Firm Innovation Strategy and the Nature of External Knowledge

Massimo G. Colombo, Nicolai J. Foss*, Jacob Lyngsie, Cristina Rossi-Lamastra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We study what determines delegation of authority over innovation decisions in firms. Extant research that addresses this topic in an open innovation context, suggests that firms that engage in open innovation tend to delegate authority over innovation decisions. We provide a more nuanced argument that considers important contingencies. Thus, we argue that the extent of delegation depends upon the combined effect of the relative importance of innovation decisions to the firm's strategy and, when a firm engages in open innovation, on the nature of the external knowledge (scientific vs. practical) that it seeks to absorb from the external environment. We test our hypotheses on data from a double-respondent survey of Danish firms that we link to Community Innovation Survey data and to the Danish Integrated Database for Labor Market Research. We provide econometric results that support our hypotheses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104134
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 30 September 2020.


  • Delegation of innovation decisions
  • R&D intensity
  • Open vs. closed innovation
  • Scientific knowledge
  • Practical knowledge

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