Absorptive capacity one size fits all
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Absorptive Capacity- One size fits all?. A Firm-level analysis of absorptive capacity for different kinds of knowledge. ZEW Discussion Paper No. 05-72 Tobias Schmidt Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) Tel.: +49-621-1235-235, [email protected] Motivation.

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Absorptive capacity one size fits all

Absorptive Capacity- One size fits all?

A Firm-level analysis of absorptive capacity for different kinds of knowledge.

ZEW Discussion Paper No. 05-72

Tobias Schmidt

Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)

Tel.: +49-621-1235-235, [email protected]


Motivation

Motivation

  • Little research on the determinants and mechanisms that increase absorptive capacity

    Mahnke et al. 2005; Lane et al. 2002; Veugelers 1997

  • Problem to find good empirical measure of absorptive capacity

    Zahara and George, 2002; Becker and Peters 2000

  • Same absorptive capacity for all types of knowledge?


Definition of absorptive capacity

Definition of Absorptive Capacity

  • AC: Firms’ ability to “identify, assimilate, and exploit knowledge from the environment”

    Cohen and Levinthal 1989, 1990

  • Concept is used at the individual-, organizational-, regional-, and national-level

    Narula 2004; Van den Bosch 2003

  • Used in economics and business administration

    Belderbos et al. 2004; Lenox and King 2004


Determinants of absorptive capacity r d activities

Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: R&D Activities

  • R&D intensity and R&D budgets

    intensity: Cohen and Levinthal 1989; Stock et al. 2001; Rocha 1999; Cantner and Pyka 1998; budgets: Leahy and Neary 2004 ; Grünfeld 2003

  • Continuous R&D activitiesOltra and Flor 2003; Becker and Peters 2000

  • R&D labBecker and Peters 2000; Veugelers 1997


Determinants of absorptive capacity prior related knowledge skills

Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: Prior Related Knowledge/Skills

  • Absorptive capacity is path dependentCohen and Levinthal 1990

  • Employees’ level of education

    Rothwell and Dodgson 1991

  • GatekeepersGradwell 2003; Vinding 2000


Determinants of absorptive capacity organization and hrm

Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: Organization and HRM

  • Organizational structure

    Gradwell 2003; Welsch et al. 2001; Van den Bosch al. 1999; Lane and Lubatkin 1998

  • Human Resource and Knowledge Management

    Mahnke et al. 2005; Jones and Craven 2001; Vinding 2000; Cohen and Levinthal 1994

  • Involvement of managers

    Lenox and King 2004


Absorptive capacity for different knowledge

Absorptive Capacity for Different Knowledge

  • Learning depends on the similarity between “teacher” and “student”Lane and Lubatkin 1998

  • Prior experience and related knowledgeDussauge et al. 2000; Cohen and Levinthal 1990

  • Scientific knowledgeBecker and Peters 2000; Nelson and Wolff 1997


Data mannheim innovationpanel

Data: Mannheim Innovationpanel

  • Survey of the innovation behavior of German firms conducted by the ZEW on behalf of the ministry for education and research (BMBF)

  • Enterprises with 5 or more employees in

    • Manufacturing (since 1993)

    • Service Sector (since 1996)

  • Mannheim Innovationpanel (MIP) 2003

    • Innovation activities during the period 2000 – 2002

    • Comparable to CIS III

    • Responses from about 4,500 enterprises

    • Responses from about 2,100 innovators


Empirical model dependent variables

Empirical Model: Dependent Variables

  • Three types of absorptive capacity (AC):

    • AC for knowledge from own industry (NACE2)

    • AC for knowledge from other industries (NACE2)

    • AC for knowledge from universities or other public research institutes

  • Construction: Question on contribution of external actors to innovations => Focus on “exploitation” component of AC.


Independent variables r d and skills

Independent Variables: R&D and Skills

  • R&D activities:

    • Continuous R&D (dummy)

    • R&D intensity, R&D intensity squared

  • Prior related knowledge/Skills:

    • Continuous R&D (dummy)

    • Share of employees with higher education


Independent variables organization and hrm

Independent Variables: Organization and HRM

  • Stimulation of innovation activities and knowledge sharing (index, factor analysis)

  • Collaboration between departments on innovation projects (dummies):

    • Informal contacts between employees

    • Open communication of ideas and concepts

    • Joint strategy development

    • Mutual support with problems

    • Meetings between heads of departments

    • Temporary exchange of personnel

    • Seminars and workshops involving several departments


Independent variables control variables

Independent Variables: Control Variables

  • Size (number of employees)

  • Situated in East Germany (dummy)

  • Industry groups (6 dummies):

    • Other manufacturing (reference group)

    • Low-tech industries

    • Medium-low-tech industries

    • Medium-high-tech industries

    • High-tech industries

    • Low-tech services

    • High-tech services


Absorptive capacity one size fits all

1. Probit Estimation

2. Triprobit (GHK-Simulator)


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • R&D and Skills plays an important role in determining AC

  • Stimulation of innovation activities and knowledge sharing is important for AC

  • Factors contribute differently to AC for different kinds of knowledge

  • Intra-industry knowledge requires experience rather than R&D

  • Further research on different types of AC necessary

  • Proxies for AC should be chosen with respect to the knowledge to be acquired.


Absorptive capacity one size fits all1

Absorptive Capacity- One size fits all?

A Firm-level analysis of absorptive capacity for different kinds of knowledge.

ZEW Discussion Paper No. 05-72

Tobias Schmidt

Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)

Tel.: +49-621-1235-235, [email protected]


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