Title

When do firms rely on their knowledge spillover recipients for guidance in exploring unfamiliar knowledge?

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Research Policy

Publication Date

11-1-2014

Volume

43

Issue

9

First Page

1496

Last Page

1507

Publisher

Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

Knowledge spillover, Exploration, Organizational learning, Risk-taking, Market dynamism

Abstract

Knowledge spillover occurs when recipient firms combine the knowledge of an originating firm with other knowledge. When recipient firms combine the originating firm's knowledge with knowledge that is unfamiliar to the originating firm, the recipient firms potentially provide insight to the originating firm on the viability of exploring such knowledge. By mimicking its recipient firms, the originating firm reduces the challenge and uncertainty of exploring unfamiliar knowledge domains. We examine the exploration activities of 87 telecommunications equipment manufacturers over a ten-year time period. We argue that those firms that operate in competitive and dynamic market environments promoting conservative risk-taking behavior will value such uncertainty reduction more highly and thus rely to a greater extent on their recipient firms for guidance on where to explore for new expertise. In contrast, firms in high-growth market environments are more likely to look beyond the activities of recipient firms when exploring new technological domains and rely less on mimicking their recipient firms.

DOI

10.1016/j.respol.2014.04.016

Print ISSN

00487333

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2014 The Authors

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Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Yang, H., & Steensma, H. K. (2014). When do firms rely on their knowledge spillover recipients for guidance in exploring unfamiliar knowledge? Research Policy, 43(9), 1496-1507. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.04.016