Overcoming Localization of Knowledge: The Role of Professional Service Firms

Forthcoming in Strategic Management Journal

ESMT Working Paper No. 13-09

40 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2013 Last revised: 27 Apr 2017

See all articles by Stefan Wagner

Stefan Wagner

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Karin Hoisl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University; Copenhagen Business School, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics

Grid Thoma

University of Camerino

Date Written: September 6, 2013

Abstract

The literature on organizational learning asserts that external learning is often limited geographically and technologically. We scrutinize to what extent organizations acquire external knowledge by accessing external knowledge repositories. We argue that professional service firms (PSFs) grant access to nonlocalized knowledge repositories and thereby not only facilitate external learning but also help to overcome localization. Focusing on patent law firms, we test our predictions using a unique dataset of 544,820 pairs of EP patent applications. Analyzing patterns of knowledge flows captured in patent citations we find that accessing a PSF’s repository facilitates the acquisition of external knowledge. As the effect is more pronounced for knowledge that is distant to a focal organization we conclude that having access to a knowledge repository compensates for localization disadvantages.

Keywords: Learning, knowledge acquisition, localization, patent citations, professional service firm

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Stefan and Hoisl, Karin and Thoma, Grid, Overcoming Localization of Knowledge: The Role of Professional Service Firms (September 6, 2013). Forthcoming in Strategic Management Journal; ESMT Working Paper No. 13-09 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2324131

Stefan Wagner (Contact Author)

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

Karin Hoisl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University ( email )

Kaulbachstraße 45
Munich, 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.inno-tec.de/mitarbeiter/hoisl/index_e.html

Copenhagen Business School, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.cbs.dk/en/research/departments-and-centres/department-of-innovation-and-organizational-ec

Grid Thoma

University of Camerino ( email )

School of Sciences and Technology
Computer Science Division
Camerino, Macerata 62032
Italy

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