نوآوری های بین المللی و طرح های استراتژیک: یک دستور کار پژوهشی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|523||2009||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research in International Business and Finance, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2009, Pages 193–205
Despite the argument that leveraging the expertise of foreign subsidiaries to the global firm benefits the whole firm's competitive advantage, in the case of international innovation, such leveraging rarely takes place. We investigate this paradox, applying research on strategic initiatives to the context of international R&D. Developing a conceptual model on the basis of communication psychology, we analyse how the innovative expertise of R&D subsidiaries may be leveraged to benefit the global firm. Specifically, we determine six elements whose greater exploration can lead to a deeper understanding of how the innovation expertise of a foreign R&D subsidiary may be leveraged.
An important consideration for international innovation remains the ability of foreign R&D subsidiaries to leverage their innovation expertise to the whole firm to contribute to the global firm's, rather than just to the subsidiary's, competitive advantage. Nohria and Ghoshal (1997) and Birkinshaw et al. (1998) show that decentralised innovative efforts by subsidiaries contribute significantly to the firm's ability to connect to local markets and thus its competitive edge over firms whose innovations are generated on a purely national basis. This ‘home-base augmenting’ by multinational corporations (MNCs) that want to enhance their asset base has been identified by both Kogut (1991) and Kuemmerle (1999) as a major driving force behind the internationalisation of innovation and research and development (R&D). Yet MNCs rarely seem to undertake such augmentation. During the past 16 years, empirical studies consistently find that MNCs rarely, if ever, use their network of foreign R&D subsidiaries to generate innovations on a global basis or leverage their subsidiaries’ innovation expertise. As Doz et al. (2006) show, this effect exists even though MNCs legally control their subsidiaries and possess a resource base that could enable such leverage. Thus, from a resource-based perspective, failing to use these available resources to generate innovations not only is highly inefficient but also negatively affects the firm's competitive advantage, because subsidiary capabilities within a MNC that remain unleveraged cannot become part of the firm-specific advantage, as Birkinshaw et al. (1998) note. Thus, the whole concept of international innovation comes into question, and a critical observer might ask: What sense does international R&D make at all if the foreign R&D subsidiaries’ innovation expertise is never recognised? Could not all the firm's innovations be generated at headquarters, instead of spending money on the costly and complex management processes required by an international R&D organisation? This problem in turn leads to the question of how, in an international innovation network, the firm's subsidiaries can make themselves notable and achieve recognition of their capabilities on a global basis. We therefore must understand what it takes for a foreign R&D subsidiary to contribute to the innovation activities of the whole firm, which factors govern the probability of being noted and recognised by headquarters, and how environmental and moderating factors may complicate this situation. This article attempts to shed light on these issues by proposing a research agenda that identifies some building blocks whose greater exploration would lead to an improved understanding. To arrive at this understanding, we are guided by a central research question: How can a foreign R&D subsidiary of an MNC leverage its innovation expertise to benefit the global firm? To answer this question, we proceed as follows: first, we review existing literature on international R&D, which reveals that we know little about the intrafirm processes of international innovation that determine whether the subsidiary's expertise is leveraged. Second, we apply extant research on strategic initiatives as an analytical tool to track the subsidiary's initiatives, which it uses to leverage its expertise in the MNC (Section 2). With this approach, we identify different stages through which an initiative must pass and analyse this process by developing a conceptual model based on an analogy from communication psychology (Section 3). This analysis indicates areas that require further investigation if we want to arrive at a detailed understanding of how the leverage of the subsidiary's expertise occurs, as well as the causal factors that may favour or impede this leverage. We define each of these areas and develop research questions that suggest ways to explore them further (Section 4). The conclusion (Section 5) summarises our development and points to strategies for empirically operationalising the research questions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We propose a framework that allows for an analysis of the factors that determine the extent to which MNCs leverage the expertise of their foreign R&D subsidiaries to the global firm. Such leverage is anything but easy or straightforward, and significant research is needed to arrive at a clear understanding of this important issue. Our communication model attempts to track the initiative's way through the firm systematically and thereby identify the building blocks for future models of causal factors and the influences that determine the scope and extent of leverage. From this approach, several limitations and issues for further research emerge. First, we use a theoretical perspective based on an analogy from communication psychology, which implies that both media richness theory (Galbraith, 1977 and Daft and Lengel, 1984) and channel expansion theory (Carlson and Zmud, 1999) could provide useful insights into specific business practices or organisational routines that would enhance the strategic leverage of the innovation expertise of a foreign R&D subsidiary by the global firm. Media richness theory argues that communication media have varying capacities for resolving ambiguity, negotiating varying interpretations and facilitating understanding. Alternate means of communication differ in their level of richness, such that face-to-face communication is the richest communication medium. We thus might expect that different communication media will influence the success probability of a strategic initiative. For example, the knowledge-intensive work atmosphere of R&D departments suggests that many initiatives might be formulated on the basis of past e-mail conversations, though such an approach may not be the most appropriate way to formulate initiatives to be evaluated by managers working in less technological environments. Furthermore, channel expansion theory argues that experiences with the communication channel, the message topic, the organisational context and the participants shape how a person develops richness perceptions about a given channel. These factors likely affect how, if at all, senders and recipients use a certain communication channel to formulate and convey initiatives. Thus, we suggest that further research should apply these theoretical perspectives to broaden and deepen the ideas we have developed herein. Second, our model and the related discussions consistently employ a subsidiary perspective, which may mean our discussions of the model's six elements are biased toward the subsidiary's perspective. Although such a subsidiary-centred perspective remains common in research on strategic initiatives, additional contributions could validate or challenge our view by taking on the recipient's perspective. Third, the next step in implementing the research agenda we have proposed would be an empirical operationalisation of the elaborated research questions. However, such a step demands something that is largely missing in modern research into international innovation: intrafirm data (Argyres and Silverman, 2004). Moreover, it implies using the strategic initiative as the unit of analysis and tracking it through the formulation–recognition–implementation stages (Floyd and Wooldridge, 2000). Although such data may be hard to obtain, they would provide a unique and perhaps the only way to arrive at a deeper understanding of how the expertise of foreign R&D subsidiaries might be leveraged. The enormous business impact – in terms of wasted resources for possibly superfluous international innovation processes in the case of non-leverage and the potential benefits of realised leverage – of such an understanding is highly desirable. Fourth, we focus on a specific set of variables and influence factors that we derive on the basis of existing research and the specific application of our conceptual model to the context of international R&D. Therefore, we may have missed other important and relevant variables. Additional field research could, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, engage in more specific research that focuses on a single one of the six elements of our model to identify additional variables and causal sources of explanation.