Joint Research and Development Project

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Joint R&D projects in their development and organization are supported within a network structure, that is, in a set of partners connected by a set of ties (Borgatti and Halgin, 2011). The partners can be firms and institutions of at least four different countries national or international firms and institutions, and the ties that connect partners serve as the “pipes” through which information flows (Podolny, 2001). Joint R&D projects, therefore, constitute a network structure in which each partner is considered a node of the network, and network ties represent the relationship of collaboration in the development of the joint project. This provides a framework in which to understand network properties. Thus, the types of connections may vary from project to project, in what Koza and Lewin (1998) described as alliance intent, or March (1991) as an exploration-exploitation model of organizational learning. Therefore, the partner’s choice to take part in a joint R&D project can be distinguished in terms of its motivation to exploit an existing capability or to explore new opportunities. Exploration involves innovation, basic research, invention, and new lines of business (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990; Hernández-Espallardo, et al. 2011.). It focuses on the ‘R’ in the research and development process in which Lavie and Rosenkopf (2006) and March (1991) define as search, variation, risk taking, experimentation, play, flexibility, discovery, or innovation. Exploitation, in contrast, is associated with standardization, routinization, and systematic cost reduction, increasing the productivity of employed capital and assets, and improving and refining existing capabilities and technologies (Koza and Lewin, 1998). It focuses on the ‘D’ in the r... ... middle of paper ... ...stances in cognition have a negative effect on absorptive capacity, they have a positive effect on the potential for novelty creation. Gilsing et al. (2008) also point out the positive effects of large distances between partners on learning because interaction yields opportunities for novel combinations of complementary resources. These authors conclude that while absorptive capacity declines with technological distance, novelty value increases. Lavie and Rosenkopf (2006), suggested that exploration projects are characterized by partners’ heterogeneity (partners whose attributes differ from those of prior partners), while exploitation projects whose objectives involve the use and development of things already known (Levinthal and March, 1993), and in which absorptive capacity is a fundamental element (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990), they observed a lesser heterogeneity.
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