Multinationals and Industrial Competitiveness

Multinationals and Industrial Competitiveness

A New Agenda

New Horizons in International Business series

John H. Dunning and Rajneesh Narula

This book offers an important contribution to the contemporary debate on the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in economic development in an increasingly globalizing, knowledge-intensive and alliance-based world economy.

Chapter 8: R & D Collaboration by ‘Stand-Alone’ SMEs: Opportunities and Limitations in the ICT Sector

John H. Dunning and Rajneesh Narula

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, international business


8 R&D collaboration by ‘stand-alone’ SMEs: opportunities and limitations in the ICT sector INTRODUCTION The closing decades of the last century have seen fundamental changes in economic realities, often referred to as the process of globalization. In particular, there has been an increasing enforceability of cross-border agreements (due in part to growing de facto and de jure regional and global economic integration), a convergence in technological trajectories across countries, and an increased cross-border competition. In the context of this chapter these developments have changed the way firms arrange their innovative activity both spatially and organizationally. There is also an increasing international aspect of R&D activity, and a growth in the use of collaborative R&D between firms, both within and across borders (for a comprehensive survey, see Hagedoorn, 2002). From a technology perspective, there has been a growing knowledge content of products and processes, such that an increasing breadth of technologies and a growing level of competence in each of these technologies is required. Cars have more computing power than most desktop computers. Fridges are nowadays Internet-enabled. And so on. This is associated (inter alia) with the pervasive role of information and computing technologies (ICT) in sectors other than purely ICT products, as an enabler of fusion of technology and as a means to coordinate spatially dispersed operations efficiently (Santangelo, 2001). The need for multiple technological competences is partly responsible for the need for higher R&D resources. One response to the growing breadth of knowledge requirements...

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