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International research strategies of multinational corporations: A german perspective

: Edler, J.


Technological forecasting and social change 71 (2004), Nr.6, S.599-621
ISSN: 0040-1625
Fraunhofer ISI ()
internationalization; industrial research and development; innovation strategies; multinational corporation; Germany; indicator-based analysis

This paper explores the international research activities of multinational corporations that are related to Germany. It analyzes what role German companies and Germany as a host of foreign companies play in the growing specialization of global exploitation and generation of knowledge. The paper covers application oriented as well as strategic research for two company samples-German and non-German-on the basis of a complex indicator-based analysis (patents and publications) and microdata from business reports. The paper shows that internationalization of research and development (R&D) has increased and broadened in scope. It highlights the strong and growing differences existing between technological and scientific areas as well as between different sectors. Apparently, while the market adaptation of products is still the major driver for German companies, international knowledge seeking has become more and more important, especially in technological areas that are linked very closely to basic research. While Germany as a host of international industrial R&D is much more attractive for applied research (mechanical engineering) than for basic research, the country has still established attractiveness in selected knowledge-intensive technological areas and shows a high intensity of international cooperation. There is a high level of reciprocity in knowledge-intensive areas pointing towards a global specialization and division of labor.