Appropriability mechanisms for manufacturing and service firms: the contingencies of openness and knowledge intensity

Yacoub, Ghassan, Storey, Chris and Haefliger, Stefan (2020) Appropriability mechanisms for manufacturing and service firms: the contingencies of openness and knowledge intensity. R&D Management, 50 (5). pp. 551-572. ISSN 0033-6807

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Conventional wisdom argues that appropriating returns from innovation requires protection mechanisms. However, there will be limits to the effectiveness of formal and informal appropriability mechanisms for innovation performance. Their effectiveness will be contingent on the nature of the knowledge that firms are trying to protect and the openness of their innovation strategy (sharing knowledge while attempting to protect knowledge is known as the ‘paradox of openness’). Do these boundary conditions apply to both manufacturing and service firms equally though? Analyzing data from the UK Community Innovation Survey, this study provides evidence for a continuum – from discrete product manufacturing firms, whose products rely heavily on codified, explicit knowledge and for which formal methods are strongly associated with innovation performance, to knowledge‐intensive service firms, which tend to rely more on complex tacit knowledge and for which innovation is linked to informal, not formal, appropriability. The findings show that the paradox of openness is a limited problem for service firms. The benefits of collaboration for innovation performance outweigh any reduction in the effectiveness of appropriability. For manufacturers, the benefits of collaboration disappear with high formal appropriability, and thus, discrete product manufacturers, contrary to conventional wisdom, may find it beneficial to reduce collaboration breadth and invest in informal appropriability mechanisms. Knowledge‐intensive servitized manufacturers find formal methods effective but only with no or minimal collaboration.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Appropriability, open innovation, innovation performance, knowledge-intensive firms
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Strategy and Marketing
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 14 May 2020 07:01
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 01:00

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