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The absorptive capacity of non-R&D-intensive firms

: Som, Oliver; Kirner, Eva; Jäger, Angela


Som, Oliver (Ed.); Kirner, Eva (Ed.):
Low-tech innovation : Competitiveness of the German manufacturing sector
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 978-3-319-09972-9 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-09973-6 (Online)
ISBN: 3-319-09973-6
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09973-6
Book Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()

This chapter analyses and compares different dimensions of non-R&D-intensive and very R&D-intensive manufacturing firms’ absorptive capacity (AC). The empirical analysis is based on firm level data obtained by a telephone survey in early 2010 among more than 200 non-R&D-intensive firms and 88 firms with a high R&D-intensity in the German manufacturing industry. The results show that there is surprisingly little difference in the level of AC between R&D-intensive and non-R&D-intensive firms – if the firm specific relevance of such external impulses is being taken into consideration. This is a surprising finding in so far, as it indicates that R&D intensity might not be a limiting factor for firm’s ability to recognize and implement scientific knowledge per se. Thereby, the findings presented in this chapter underline the necessity to further improve and supplement the measurement concept of firms’ AC beyond their mere R&D intensity by taking into account the strategic importance of different types of external knowledge.