Different Missions and Commitment Power in R&D Organization: Theory and Evidence on Industry-University Alliances
University of Toronto - Strategic Management; University of Toronto at Mississauga - Department of Management
October 20, 2007
Organization Science, Forthcoming
This paper proposes a theory for why firms conduct some research activities in-house while outsourcing other projects to independent partners, and for why firms retain different degrees of control over collaborative research projects. The focus in on the determinants of a company`s choice to outsource research projects to academic organizations. Due to the different institutional mission of academic organizations, outsourcing a project to a university allows a firm to commit not to terminate or alter a scientifically valuable project before completion. This commitment is potentially valuable for the firm in an environment where scientific value and economic value may not coincide, and scientific workers are responsive to the incentives defined by their community of peers. An economic model that formalizes these arguments is developed. Empirical hypotheses are then formulated about the kind of research activities firms will outsource to universities, and activities on which they will exert stronger control. Evidence from a sample of industry-university research agreements, as well as from other large-sample and case studies, shows patterns consistent with the predictions of the model.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: R&D Organization, Firm Boundaries, Industry-University Relations
JEL Classification: D23, L22, L33, M55, O32working papers series
Date posted: January 21, 2008 ; Last revised: September 16, 2008
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