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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/8561

Title: Inter-firm interaction for technology-based radical innovation
Authors: VERCAUTEREN, Anne
Advisors: Vanhaverbeke, Wim
Håkansson, Håkan
Issue Date: 2007
Abstract: The central aim of this PhD research is to study how inter-firm interactions contribute to the technology-based radical innovation process. The aggregated research gradually demonstrates the importance of business networks in the innovation process. A first study provides a rich account of how customer firms contribute to technology-based radical innovation in every phase of the innovation process. The second study indicates that such interaction can evolve into a relatively balanced cooperation between a customer and a supplier that share innovation as a joint aim. This study analyses how radical technological innovation benefits from uncertainty reducing effects in the customer/supplier cooperation. A third study is devoted to an investigation of the involvement of business networks in technology-based radical innovation. The general methodology of the PhD is case-based research. The cases are radical technological innovation projects that are situated within large firms and that involve inter-firm interaction in the context of the innovation process. For data collection, semi-structured interviews are complemented with observations and the analysis of business documents. The first study relies on a multiple case study design comprising eight cases. The base technologies in the cases relate to electronics, metal transformation and chemicals. The application industries are very diverse: examples are the construction, the consumer electronics and the automotive industry. The second study constitutes a single, fully retrospective case of customer/supplier cooperation for the development of radically innovative fishing trawls for the fishing industry. Thirdly, the involvement of business networks in radical technological innovation is studied in a longitudinal, embedded single case research. In the case, a development team builds a business from a radically innovative laser additive technology and engages in multiple inter-firm interactions in doing so. The aggregated research is characterised by a distinct learning process from one study to the next. The theoretical and methodological approach to the central problem evolves considerably. Methodologically, depth of the research results is enhanced by engaging in single case study research. The empirical validity of the research results is improved by an increased reliance on inductive, instead of deductive, reasoning during the case analyses. For theory, the aggregated research indicates the importance of surpassing a supplier-centred approach to innovation. Only by including the larger context of an innovation process can the role of the business network be identified. The results of this research clearly indicate that inter-firm interactions between supplier and customer as well as other kinds of firms, i.e. suppliers of complementary products and competitors, influence and contribute to technology-based radical innovation.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/8561
Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections: PhD theses
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