همکاری پژوهشی و برون سپاری "تحقیق و توسعه": تحقیق و توسعه متفاوت پرسنل مورد نیاز در شرکت های کوچک و متوسط
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21069||2013||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Technovation Volume 33, Issues 4–5, April–May 2013, Pages 142–153
The literature on ‘open’ innovation emphasises the need to engage in external knowledge relations in order to innovate. Particularly for SMEs, research cooperation and R&D outsourcing can offer possibilities to complement the often limited internal research resources. However, they also bring in their wake requirements in terms of absorptive capacity and managerial skills of the internal R&D personnel. The paper focuses on the different requirements in terms of availability and training of research managers and R&D experts for research cooperation versus R&D outsourcing in SMEs. An empirical analysis of micro-level data provided by the OECD business R&D survey for Belgium reveals that the relation between R&D personnel requirements and research collaboration and R&D outsourcing depends upon the SME size. Therefore, to study this subject appropriately a distinction between very small, small, and medium-sized firms is relevant. Very small firms engage significantly less in research cooperation than medium-sized firms and the propensity to engage in research cooperation is positively associated with the share of PhD holders among the research managers and R&D experts. For R&D outsourcing a lower involvement is noted in medium-sized firms, and the propensity to outsource increases with the formal qualification level of the R&D personnel and with R&D training. Among the SME, small firms are most engaged in research cooperation and in R&D outsourcing. In the case of research cooperation they rely on highly qualified experts. For R&D outsourcing activities both the presence of research managers and R&D experts is important.
Research cooperation and R&D outsourcing are important ways to explore new research areas with relatively low capital and lower risk involvement in case of failure. However, decisions to engage in these activities make firm boundaries permeable in order to attract and use external knowledge and technology. They bring in their wake important implications for the organisation of innovation processes (van de Vrande et al., 2009) and should be seen in relation to the management, research expertise and qualification and training of internal R&D personnel. Based on initial work by Narula (2001) it can be expected that there are marked differences in terms of internal firm requirements for R&D management between activities related to research collaboration on the one hand and R&D outsourcing on the other hand. These differences can be situated both at the level of managerial resources and in terms of in-house capacity in order to utilise the results (Veugelers, 1997, Narula, 2001 and Lucena, 2011). Aspects which are of particular importance for SMEs since these are faced with scale limitations and, in a context of open innovation, increasingly have to devote resources to other aspects of the value chain in order to effectively market the internally developed and externally sourced knowledge (van de Vrande et al., 2009). Both research cooperation and R&D outsourcing in SMEs involve challenges to handle the increasing complexity and management of innovation and extend beyond the traditional R&D department (van de Vrande et al., 2009). This can be related to the crucial importance of human resources for R&D activities in firms (Allen and Katz, 1992). Innovation adoption in SMEs is particularly affected by the people around them and by the skills and knowledge of the internal personnel (Sawang and Unsworth, 2011). For the time being, in a context of open innovation and for SMEs, the management of innovation is rather going through a process of trial and error than that it is part of professional management (Gassmann et al., 2010). The focus of this paper is on the identification of differences in the internal requirements of SMEs in terms of research managers and R&D experts as well as their qualification and training according to firm engagement in R&D outsourcing versus research collaboration. Moreover, the research takes into account the heterogeneity of SMEs by differentiating between very small, small, and medium-sized enterprises. The focus on external knowledge relations in SMEs, the role of human resources for R&D, and size differences among SMEs are underdeveloped items in the literature on open innovation (Gassmann et al., 2010 and Spithoven and Teirlinck, 2010). The paper is structured as follows. Based on a literature review on research cooperation and R&D outsourcing in SMEs and the requirements in terms of research managers and R&D experts, Section 2 formulates the research question, Section 3 describes the dataset, and in Section 4 the empirical findings are presented. Section 5 highlights the main conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The open innovation literature argues that the management and organisation of innovation becomes more complex since it is extended towards activities other than traditional R&D department related ones. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises face challenges for the sourcing of external knowledge (Gassmann et al., 2010), and this not at least because of their absolute (R&D) size limitations. Research cooperation and R&D outsourcing may help to overcome this problem. However, related to the necessity to acquire and use external knowledge, these activities should be complemented by internal capacity in terms of R&D management and research expertise. Taking differences in the complexity and tacitness of the knowledge acquired as a starting point, the paper examined variations in requirements in terms of the availability of research managers and R&D experts as well as their qualification and training when it comes to research cooperation and R&D outsourcing. Moreover, based on empirical work by van de Vrande et al. (2009) the paper started from the assumption that these differences vary according to SME size. An empirical analysis at firm level has been performed on the basis of a representative sample of 140 (quasi-) permanent R&D active SMEs in Belgium. Based on the EU definition of an SME a distinction is made between very small (10–19 employees), small (20–49 employees) and medium-sized (50–249 employees) firms. The empirical results confirmed the views by Pavitt (1998) and van de Vrande et al. (2009) that a threshold level of R&D personnel is needed, both in terms of research managers and R&D experts. Though, in line with the expectations from the theoretical literature there are marked differences in terms of required availability of research managers and R&D experts not only between research cooperation and R&D outsourcing (as highlighted by Narula, 2004 and Veugelers, 1997) but also by the size of the SME. Corroborating the theoretical expectations, the analysis revealed research cooperation to occur less in very small firms; whereas R&D outsourcing is less probable in medium-sized firms. The presence (in full time equivalents) of research managers is constant over the size-classes, whereas the availability of R&D experts tends to be inversed U-shaped in the sense that small firms are characterised by a higher level compared to the very small and medium-sized ones. The presence of a relatively high internal R&D expertise (absorptive) capacity within the small sized firms can explain the higher propensity to engage both in research cooperation and R&D outsourcing. In very small and small firms, the presence of R&D experts and the share of PhD holders among research managers and R&D experts are positively associated with the propensity to engage in research cooperation. For medium-sized firms, it is the presence of research managers rather than PhD holders that promotes research cooperation. For smaller firms, involvement in research cooperation turns out to be part of the role of the researcher holding a PhD; whereas in medium-sized firms formal R&D management takes a more decisive role for the engagement in research cooperation. This turned out to be related to a strong engagement in cooperation with universities and public research organisations and cooperation within the proper region. Also with regard to R&D outsourcing important variations are noted in accordance with firm size. For small firms a positive relationship with the availability of research managers and R&D experts exists. In contrast with cooperation activities, no such association could be identified for very small and medium-sized firms. The difference with small firms lies in the fact that small firms – on average – employ significantly more R&D experts than very small and medium-sized firms. This creates a higher potential in terms of critical mass to absorb the results of R&D outsourcing. In contrast with very small firms, for medium-sized firms (which on average were found to be significantly less involved in R&D outsourcing) this seems to be compensated for by the relatively higher presence of PhD holders and R&D training which can be positively associated with R&D outsourcing. This seems to indicate that medium-sized firms are more able to use R&D training to internally use the results of outsourced R&D. In summary, the findings in this paper clearly indicate that the propensity for a firm to engage in research cooperation or R&D outsourcing should be seen in relation to the internal R&D personnel potential to assimilate and manage external ideas and is linked to the size of the SME. The results obtained for R&D personnel requirements to a high extent are in line with the change management model developed by Greiner (1972) that emphasises creativity as the main driver for small firms and more importance of formal management as the firm becomes larger. Supporting Greiner (1972) and Anand and Khanna (2000) the results provide evidence that the size of the SME is an important determinant to account for differences in external knowledge interactions by means of research cooperation and R&D outsourcing. These differences can be related to different capabilities in terms of R&D and innovation management (Lane and Lubatkin, 1998), learning potential (Lucena, 2011), training and recruitment of specialized workers (Acs and Audretsch, 1990), and problem-solving (von Hippel, 1994) and complexity and contractual issues (Anand and Khanna, 2000). Areas for further research include a more detailed view on research collaboration and R&D outsourcing partners (Teirlinck et al., 2010). In particular the role of universities and public research organisations deserve further attention since because of the fear of giving away their technology to a competitor or potential competitor, both large and small firms show a preference to outsource applied research and product development to public research institutes and universities (Tidd and Trewhella, 1997). Further research on the formal or informal characteristics of collaboration agreements and the role of the individual researcher in the SME is also needed. As this paper revealed, when studying these topics, it is necessary to take account of the size of the SME. Addressing the latter topic from a longitudinal firm-based perspective would reveal interesting information with regard to change management.