Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 11: Intellectual property and patents: knowledge creation and diffusion
The “profit motive” is considered the principal objective that guides businesses’ drive for success. The underlying goal in this context is to generate profits, which in turn generate benefits for the entity itself, as well as its shareholders. While the prospect of simplifying the complex structures and processes that guide the activities of corporations into one argument is rather appealing, it is probably too narrow a view to explain the stark variations among ventures in innovative output, entrepreneurial engagement or performance measures, which certainly persist even after controlling for input factor conditions (Hollis and Nell, 1975). In essence, a diverse set of aspects more or less determine firm performance at various levels, and not necessarily at the same intensity over time (Dess and Robinson, 1984; Afuah and Utterback, 1997). Changing the point of view from an individualistic to a general perspective, to be innovative seems another objective that is common to the vast majority of market-oriented businesses. The innovation machine in this framework is considered the engine of the economy that creates the growth miracle of capitalism (Baumol, 2002). More explicitly, free market processes, or variations thereof (Hall and Soskice, 2001), lead to the formation of companies, which subsequently compete with each other based on price, quality and by constantly generating novel products and processes, that is, innovations (Greenhalgh and Rogers, 2010).
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