Inderscience Publishers

Technological innovation and interfirm cooperation: an exploratory analysis using survey data from manufacturing firms in the metropolitan region of Vienna

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This paper centres around two research questions: first, the identification of five types of networks that manufacturing firms located in the metropolitan region of Vienna may have created for different purposes and second, the question to what extent the likelihood of interfirm cooperation is conditioned by the general profile of manufacturing establishments and their technological resources. Although this paper focuses on the manufacturing sector, a special emphasis is placed on the electronics industry. The study utilises a recent postal survey providing data on size and organisation, products and markets, research and development, innovation and interfirm relationships. The analysis of the first question finds that first, networking does not yet seem to be a popular managerial and organisational concept for manufacturing firms located in the metropolitan region of Vienna; second, networking activities are primarily based on vertical relationships (customer, manufacturer supplier and producer service provider networks) rather than on horizontal linkages (producer networks, industry-university linkages); third, networks focusing on the later stages of the innovation process are less common than those focusing on the earlier stages; fourth, firms tend to rely on sources of technology from national and - especially - international networks. It appears that metropolitan networking is less common than has been thought. For technical advance spatial proximity does not seem to be very important. Turning to the second research question of the study, focusing on the adoption of the managerial and organisational concept of networking, the results are bolstering the argument that establishment traits and technology related-capabilities do play a role. The results achieved reveal, for example, that in-house research skills are a very good predictor for industry-university relationships.

Keywords: electronics, manufacturing, innovation, networking, regional innovation systems

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