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Interaction with science: In what sense a case of learning by doing?

Anders Broström

Science and Public Policy, 2014, vol. 41, issue 2, 141-150

Abstract: Since the contribution of Cohen et al. (Management Science, 2002, 48: 1–23), it is well established that linkages between engineering firms and public research organisations serve to both suggest new R&D projects and comple existing projects. However, the literature has little to say about whether these two types of outcomes are linked or independent effects. Drawing on theories of organisational learning and empirical analysis of data on Swedish engineering firms, this paper establishes that the occurrence of useful impulses to further R&D is inherently linked to the achievement of objectives related to a firm’s ongoing R&D projects. This connection is, however, mediated by the character of the project objective. Compared to linkages where objectives of exploration and exploitation are balanced, the connection between serendipitous learning and the achievement of established R&D objectives is stronger when these objectives are oriented towards exploration and weaker when objectives are oriented towards exploitation.

Date: 2014
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