Session 212

Technological Innovation

Track I

Date: Monday, October 12, 2009


Time: 12:45 – 14:00

Common Ground

Room: Meeting Room 12

Alfonso Gambardella, Bocconi University

Title: Exploring the Generality of General Purpose Technologies


  • Elena Novelli, City University London

Abstract: General Purpose Technologies (GPTs) have been defined as technologies with broad applicability across sectors (Bresnahan and Trajtenberg, 1995). While extant research recognized the importance of GPTs, very little is known about the inner nature of these technologies. As a direct consequence, extant contributions do not provide but weak prescriptive indications toward the development of GPTs. This paper aims to understand whether generality represents an intrinsic characteristic of the technology or whether it is the result of a process involving relevant interactions between the new knowledge developed and the external technological environment. Results of this paper show that the generality of a technology depends only partially on its inner characteristics; environmental factors exert, instead, a larger role in determining the subsequent scope of application.

Title: GrantBack Clause Effect in the Race For Next Generation of Inventions


  • Keld Laursen, Copenhagen Business School
  • Maria Isabella Leone, LUISS Guido Carli University
  • Toke Reichstein, Copenhagen Business School

Abstract: This paper is an empirical analysis of how the grant-back clause embedded in license agreements couples with the innovativeness of the licensee and licensors. The paper considers the market for technology as being characterized by imperfect substitutes and an institution at which demand and supply find each other according to preferences and gains. Evidence suggests that licensees and licensors who sign grant-back clause licenses display lower ex post inventiveness. We propose that licensees that use technology license agreements as an integrated part of their invention strategy do not engage in contracts that include grant back clauses. Licensors that make use of a grant back clause do so due to lack of complementary resources leaving them to rely on the licensee to develop their technology.

Title: Modularity for Value Appropriation - Drawing the Boundaries of Intellectual Property


  • Joachim Henkel, Munich Technical University
  • Carliss Baldwin, Harvard University

Abstract: Existing theory of modularity explains how modular designs create value. We extend this theory to address value appropriation. A product or process design that is modular with respect to intellectual property (IP) allows firms to better capture value in situations where knowledge and value creation are distributed across many actors. We use case studies to develop an inductive theory of "IP modularity," from which we derive testable propositions and managerial implications.

Title: Realizing the Commercial Value of Employee Leisure Time Invention


  • Lee Davis, Copenhagen Business School
  • Jerome Davis, Dalhousie University

Abstract: Managerial ability to access and effectively combine different sources of employee knowledge can help firms to respond quickly to emerging market opportunities, and enhance creativity and innovation. There are many examples of inventions where the key “flash of genius” occurred while the inventor was away from work – including the Wright Brothers’ airplane and 3M’s Post It Notes. But a novel leisure time insight does not necessarily lead to a useful invention. This paper discusses four problems managers face in realizing the commercial value of leisure time invention: encouraging employees to disclose knowledge about their invention, transferring this knowledge to the firm, minimizing “leisure time shirking,” and dealing with the quandary of employee retention. We suggest what measures might be implemented, and generate propositions about how this research agenda might be tested empirically.

Title: The Impact of Internal and External Basic Science on Research Productivity in the Pharmaceutical Industry


  • Bart Leten, University of Leuven
  • Stijn Kelchtermans, University of Leuven
  • Rene Belderbos, University of Leuven

Abstract: This study examines the impact of basic science on the research productivity of private for-profit firms in the pharmaceutical industry. We distinguish between the effects of in-house self-performed basic scientific research (internal basic science) and the exploitation of public basic scientific research (external basic science). We hypothesize that firms that engage in internal basic science increase their research productivity, in particular when these activities are undertaken in collaboration with university scientists. In addition, a positive impact of the exploitation of external basic science on firms’ technological performance is expected. Further, we posit that firms are positioned heterogeneously to benefit from the exploitation of external basic science, depending on their involvement in internal basic science. We test hypotheses on a panel data set of the patent and publication activities of 71 of the world’s largest R&D spending pharmaceutical and biotechnology-based firms.

Title: When Do Firms Use Public Research? The Determinants of Knowledge Flows from Universities and Government Labs to Industrial R&D


  • Michael Roach, Cornell University

Abstract: This paper examines the factors that condition knowledge flows from public research while accounting for endogeneity arising from self-selection. Using a novel dataset the compares a survey measure of knowledge flows to backward citations to patent and non-patent references (e.g., scientific publications) I find that while firm basic research increases the probability that a firm uses public research, it has little effect on knowledge flows from public research. Instead, a firm’s scientific capabilities are a key driver the exploitation of knowledge flows, and entrepreneurial ventures exploit more knowledge flows than established firms. By unpacking a firm’s scientific absorptive capacity, this paper provides a nuanced view of the specific roles of firm research activity and capabilities in the exploitation of extramural knowledge.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 264: Strategy in an Uncertain World: “Black Swan” Implications for K&I Scholars
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 265: The Changing Governance Landscape: Implications for Knowledge and Innovation Scholars
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 266: Integrating Theories of Problem Formation
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 313: Knowledge & Innovation, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 201: 50th Anniversary of Penrose's (1959) The Theory of the Growth of the Firm
Session 212: Technological Innovation
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 218: Let the Knowledge Flow...
Session 223: Exploration and Novelty
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 209: Learning and Collaboration
Session 221: Innovation and Management Practice
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 202: Microfoundations of Knowledge and Learning
Session 235: Regulating the Market for Ideas: The Role of Communities, Norms, and Networks
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 203: Dynamic Capabilities
Session 224: Governing Knowledge
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 207: How Do Capabilities Develop?
Session 210: The Complex Roles of Experience
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 211: Knowledge Transfer
Session 215: Knowledge-Based Strategic Interaction
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 213: The Human Factor in Knowledge and Innovation
Session 219: Ambidexterity

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