Organizational Heuristics, R&D Network Boundary Spanning, and Innovation Catch-up of Latecomer Firms in a Transition Economy
|Keywords||institutional transition latecomer firms innovation catch-up R&Dnetwork boundary spanning organizational heuristics|
Recently, firms in transitional economies have spurred increasing competition with advanced economy multinational enterprises (AMNEs) domestically or/and globally. Typically, as latecomer firms, they do not possess superior technological and managerial resources, and have to make strategic choices for catching-up under complex institutional framework. But some of them (e.g., Geely, Huawei) masterfully build global R&D network for improving innovation capability and compete with AMNEs domestically and globally. This dissertation thus focus on how these firms in transitional economies achieve catching-up with AMNEs by spanning their R&D network boundaries.In order to illustrate specific answers, this dissertation contains four studies. First, by conducting a multiple case study of four high technology firms in Zhejiang Province in China, an innovation catch-up model through R&D network boundary spanning activities has emerged. Second, for verifying the generalizability of the findings from previous case study, the study uses a sample of926firms in Zhejiang Province of China to examine the relationship between R&D network organizational, geographical, and knowledge boundary spanning and innovation catch-up, and how existing knowledge base moderates these relationships. Third, after theoretical elaboration, this dissertation builds a theoretical framework that explains how organizational heuristics influence R&D network boundary spanning strategies. Fourth, by conducting embedded case studies in the setting of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely for short) in China, this study focuses on three stages of its catching-up process, and tries to understand how Geely made R&D boundary spanning choices when facing difficult institutional environments and latecomer disadvantages in respective stage to achieve catching up successfully.The main findings are as follows. First, after analysis of four longitudinal cases in China, this study illustrates how latecomer firms span their organizational, geographical and knowledge boundaries of R&D network to achieve innovation catch-up. The results indicate that latecomer firms need to build cross organizational boundary to acquire complementary resources and to interactive learn within network for new knowledge creation in the building essential knowledge base stage. At the right time, latecomer firms should build local, glocal and global R&D network to acquire heterogeneous knowledge and reduce communication and coordination cost for transition. Moreover, in each different stage, latecomer firms could span knowledge breadth (e.g., increasing knowledge disciplines) and knowledge depth (e.g., increasing knowledge complexity and specialization to build capability). Integrating organizational geographical and knowledge boundaries spanning of R&D network is in favor of innovation catch-up for latecomer firms.Second, by using926sample firms from Zhejiang Province in China, this research examines how latecomers’R&D boundary spanning activities impact innovation capability catch-up in China’s transition economy. The results indicate that there is an inversed U relationship of the R&D organizational boundary spanning activities and innovation performance. Moreover, this research proposes that there are positive significant relationships of the R&D geographical, knowledge boundary spanning activities and innovation performance. And finally, this research puts forward the moderate role of existing knowledge base in the relationship between R&D network boundary spanning and innovation performance.Third, after theoretical elaboration, this study defines organizational heuristics, and clarifies opportunity creating heuristics and opportunity capturing heuristics, and discusses their different roles played in the transitional economy. Moreover, built upon the duality origins of strategy, this dissertation proposes a theoretical framework of organizational heuristics and R&D network boundary spanning under the context of transitional economy.Fourth, after theoretical elaboration and embedded case study of Geely, the last research indicates that the dual roles of institutions in both empowering and constraining organizational heuristics for latecomer firms in transitional economics has emerged. Then, this research compares and explores the different organizational processes and their relationships. Moreover, the results indicate that the different organizational processes can facilitate strategic choices making of R&D boundary spanning activities, and the feedback loop of how these choices can help firms deal with the latecomer disadvantages.This dissertation also discusses the contributions of these studies for catch-up literature and R&D network literature. And managerial implications for managers in latecomer firms are also discussed. Future research directions are the end of this dissertation.