The Effects of Privatization on Corporate R&D Units: Evidence from Italy and France

10 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2003

See all articles by Federico Munari

Federico Munari

University of Bologna - Department of Management


Over the last two decades privatization programmes in a variety of different countries have radically reduced the role of the state as a major owner of productive assets. While there is empirical evidence to show that the switch in ownership generally improves productive efficiency and profitability at company level, its effects on research and development (R&D) activities, which can impact strongly on long-term performance, have been largely ignored in the literature.

In this paper we address this issue by analyzing seven cases of privatization that have recently occurred in Italy and France in order to gauge how R&D activities may be affected by privatization in terms of objectives and organization. The organizations studied show that R&D units within privatized companies are subject to profound restructuring actions, generally designed to boost efficiency and to strengthen integration with the goals of the business units and of the final customers. A new role for R&D thus emerges: the aim is no longer to generate new knowledge in the broad national interest, but rather more directly to create value for the company and its clients, by emphasizing the assessment and integration of external knowledge.

Suggested Citation

Munari, Federico, The Effects of Privatization on Corporate R&D Units: Evidence from Italy and France. Available at SSRN:

Federico Munari (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
Bologna, Bologna 40126
051-2093954 (Phone)
051-2093949 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics