The Temporal Effects of Relative and Firm-Level Absorptive Capacity on Interorganizational Learning
Henri A. Schildt
Hanken School of Economics
University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration
Markku V. J. Maula
Aalto University, Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Management, Institute of Strategy
April 29, 2011
Strategic Management Journal, Forthcoming
We examine how determinants of absorptive capacity influence learning over time in alliances. Using longitudinal patent cross-citation data, we find an inverted U-shaped pattern over time that is influenced by firm-level and relational factors. Technological similarity increases learning only modestly in the initial stages of a relationship, but moderate levels substantially increase knowledge flows later in the alliance. High technological diversity is related to higher initial learning rates, but the effects diminish over time. Somewhat surprisingly, research and development intensity is negatively related to initial learning rates but has a considerable positive effect later in the relationship. We suggest that initial learning rates in alliances may be constrained by the capacity to absorb knowledge, while later-stage outcomes are constrained by exploitation capacity.
Keywords: absorptive capacity, interorganizational learning, patents, alliance, time
JEL Classification: M1Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 4, 2011
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