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Which types of knowledge-intensive business services firms collaborate with universities for innovation?

Hsing-fen Lee and Marcela Miozzo

Research Policy, 2019, vol. 48, issue 7, 1633-1646

Abstract: Drawing on data from an original survey of UK and US publicly traded knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) firms, we investigate what types of KIBS firms collaborate with universities and consider the collaboration important for their innovation. First, we find that science-based KIBS firms (those engaged in a science, technology, and innovation [STI] mode of organizational learning), like science-based manufacturing firms, are active collaborators with universities for innovation. This relationship is further enhanced if these firms also provide highly customized services. Second, in contrast to the existing literature suggesting that firms engaged in a doing, using, and interacting (DUI) mode of organizational learning do not regard collaboration with universities as important for their innovation, we find that KIBS firms engaged in a DUI mode of organizational learning and offering highly customized services are active collaborators with universities for innovation, despite the fact that they may not possess highly formalized scientific knowledge. These findings suggest that KIBS firms co-create knowledge with universities differently than manufacturing firms. Moreover, the findings highlight the wide variety of roles that KIBS firms play in innovation networks with universities.

Keywords: KIBS; Innovation collaboration; University–industry relations; Organizational learning; Customization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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