Integrating External Knowledge in New Product Development: The Influence of SupplierKnowledge
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
When firms become increasingly dependent on external knowledge to be innovative and competitive, new product development (NPD) transforms into an activity focused on integrating external and internal knowledge bases. Consequently, firms need to open up their firm boundaries while at the same time manage the dilemma of risk of undesirable knowledge leakages. Little is known on how firms tackle the need for openness and risk of losing proprietary knowledge in different types of NPD processes. In fact, the knowledge based view of the firm and organizational economics give diverging answers to this dilemma. By conducting a multiple-case study of buyer-supplier collaborations in new product development (NPD), two main approaches to manage supplier knowledge in innovation emerge; knowledge absorption and joint knowledge accumulation. Knowledge absorption emphasizes technical interfaces and limited interaction for accessing knowledge of suppliers and was found in conjunction with exploitative activities. Joint knowledge accumulation represents joint and interactive learning between the buyer and the supplier and took place in more demanding explorative innovation. The findings indicate that managers make deliberate choices between increasing openness and minimizing the risk of losing proprietary knowledge based on the specific demands of the NPD task and the knowledge of the suppliers. By using different knowledge integration mechanisms, managers balance trust and control, a collaborative relation and a more restricted. Interestingly, the dilemma between openness and the risk of knowledge leakage is more or less managed within the knowledge integration mechanisms themselves, not primary by relying on external transactional governance mechanisms.
Business Administration Economics and Business
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122504OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-122504DiVA: diva2:867654