TitleThe emerging innovators in the technological knowledge accumulation networks of multinational corporations
NameZhang, Feng (author), Cantwell, John A (chair), Farris, George F (internal member), Gittelman, Michelle (internal member), Pearce, Robert D (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
International business enterprises--Technological innovations,
International business enterprises--Technological innovations--China,
DescriptionThe last couple of decades have witnessed an enormous expansion of the technological knowledge accumulation networks of multinational corporations (MNCs). These expanded MNC networks incorporate some of their subsidiaries in developing countries. However, our understanding of these emerging innovators in MNC networks is still limited. This dissertation focuses on the knowledge accumulation of subsidiaries that were recently incorporated into MNC networks, using patent data from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The dissertation comprises of three studies. The first study investigates the pattern of internal and external knowledge access by foreign-owned subsidiaries located in China. The results show that the internal and external knowledge sources of overseas subsidiaries might be differently connected to the local generation of new knowledge in distinctive ways. In particular, when building upon complex combinations of knowledge across different technological fields, Chinese-located subsidiaries are more likely to rely upon international rather than local sources. These findings suggest that overseas subsidiaries located in non-traditional ‘centers of excellence’ might follow a distinctive path of local capability development. The second study focuses on the strategic considerations when firms access external technological knowledge. The results show that only certain categories of non-core knowledge are strategically sourced relatively more externally than is core knowledge. In particular, marginal technological knowledge may be accessed externally to experiment with potential technological opportunities in the long run; while background technological knowledge is more likely to be accessed externally to better coordinate supply chain activities and to identify new technological opportunities related to those activities. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the nature of firms’ combinative capabilities. The third study investigates the strategic roles of overseas subsidiaries in the technological knowledge accumulation networks of MNCs, by comparing the technological knowledge inflow and outflow patterns of different subsidiaries. The results suggest that subsidiaries located in China may have come to play a strategic role as specialized hubs, whereas their counterpart peer subsidiaries in the equivalent MNC group in developed countries are more likely to be recognized as ‘centers of excellence’ in MNC networks. The implications for the organizational restructuring of MNCs are discussed.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Feng Zhang
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.