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Inter-firm collaborations to make or to buy innovation. Evidence from the rubber and plastics cluster in Uruguay.

ISSNISSN/ISBN: 1536-5433
ISSNAño: 2019
EditorialEditorial: Management Research. Vol 17. N°4.
Nº de PáginasNº de Páginas: 404-425
This paper aims to analyze the relationship between inter-firm collaboration network and the type of innovation strategies that can be followed by firms: buy or make innovation. In particular, the authors seek to analyze which are the network topologies that facilitate firms following a buy innovation strategy compared to those network properties that encourage internal R&D activities.The authors use data from a fieldwork with face-to-face interviews applied to managing directors of firms in the rubber and plastic cluster of Uruguay. Subsequently, they combine social network analysis with regression techniques to determine how inter-firm networks can influence different types of innovation activities. The authors find that degree centrality facilitates a buy innovation strategy, while betweenness centrality is positively associated with making innovation. Thus, having many direct links with other firms and organizations is relevant to buy innovation. However, indirect links that allow the firm to occupy a strategic position in the network are crucial to develop in-house innovation strategies. These findings have practical implications for business innovation strategy. One factor that should be taken into account is the way in which firms interact with other actors in the cluster. On the one hand, firms can decide to establish and maintain many direct collaboration links, which may contribute to buy innovation. On the other hand, they can follow a more strategic and selective collaboration strategy to make innovation, a strategy that carefully studies not only its direct collaborations, but also what the potential indirect connections would be.

 
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