Can entrepreneurial orientation improve R&D alliance performance? An absorptive capacity perspective
Research and Development (R&D) alliance studies maintain that alliance partners’ entrepreneurial interactions that pursue innovation opportunities through collective exploitation and exploration of knowledge resources lead to alliance success. Despite the importance of productive resource exchange and generation through such interactions, performance-by-alliance mechanisms remain under-researched. In this study, we develop a theoretical framework hypothesizing that the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of alliance firms, which underlies their approach to seeking and utilizing resources productively, has a potential impact on their R&D alliance performance, depending on their absorptive capacity (AC). To specify the value creation and capture mechanism in the alliance, we adopt two performance indicators: technological competitiveness and business performance. Findings from a study of 218 small technology-intensive firms conducting R&D alliance projects show that EO translates into business performance through technological competitiveness and that AC leverages the alliance performance implications of EO. The results suggest that EO-AC complementarity is a strategic stimulant that triggers firms to extract greater benefits from R&D alliances.
Pohang University of Science and Technology, Department of Industrial and Management Engineering