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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.

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Presentation on theme: "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."— Presentation transcript:

1 Absorptive Capacity- One size fits all? A Firm-level analysis of absorptive capacity for different kinds of knowledge. ZEW Discussion Paper No Tobias Schmidt Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) Tel.: ,

2 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?

3 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

4 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 activities Oltra and Flor 2003; Becker and Peters 2000 R&D lab Becker and Peters 2000; Veugelers 1997 Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: R&D Activities

5 Absorptive capacity is path dependent Cohen and Levinthal 1990 Employees’ level of education Rothwell and Dodgson 1991 Gatekeepers Gradwell 2003; Vinding 2000 Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: Prior Related Knowledge/Skills

6 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 Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: Organization and HRM

7 Learning depends on the similarity between “teacher” and “student” Lane and Lubatkin 1998 Prior experience and related knowledge Dussauge et al. 2000; Cohen and Levinthal 1990 Scientific knowledge Becker and Peters 2000; Nelson and Wolff 1997 Absorptive Capacity for Different Knowledge

8 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 oManufacturing (since 1993) oService Sector (since 1996) Mannheim Innovationpanel (MIP) 2003 oInnovation activities during the period 2000 – 2002 oComparable to CIS III oResponses from about 4,500 enterprises oResponses from about 2,100 innovators

9 Empirical Model: Dependent Variables Three types of absorptive capacity (AC): oAC for knowledge from own industry (NACE2) oAC for knowledge from other industries (NACE2) oAC for knowledge from universities or other public research institutes Construction: Question on contribution of external actors to innovations => Focus on “exploitation” component of AC.

10 Independent Variables: R&D and Skills R&D activities: oContinuous R&D (dummy) oR&D intensity, R&D intensity squared Prior related knowledge/Skills: oContinuous R&D (dummy) oShare of employees with higher education

11 Independent Variables: Organization and HRM Stimulation of innovation activities and knowledge sharing (index, factor analysis) Collaboration between departments on innovation projects (dummies): oInformal contacts between employees oOpen communication of ideas and concepts oJoint strategy development oMutual support with problems oMeetings between heads of departments oTemporary exchange of personnel oSeminars and workshops involving several departments

12 Independent Variables: Control Variables Size (number of employees) Situated in East Germany (dummy) Industry groups (6 dummies): oOther manufacturing (reference group) oLow-tech industries oMedium-low-tech industries oMedium-high-tech industries oHigh-tech industries oLow-tech services oHigh-tech services

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14 1. Probit Estimation 2. Triprobit (GHK-Simulator)

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16 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. Conclusion

17 Absorptive Capacity- One size fits all? A Firm-level analysis of absorptive capacity for different kinds of knowledge. ZEW Discussion Paper No Tobias Schmidt Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) Tel.: ,


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