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Asset recombination in international partnerships as a source of improved innovation capabilities in China

Collinson, S. and Narula, R. ORCID: (2014) Asset recombination in international partnerships as a source of improved innovation capabilities in China. Multinational Business Review, 22 (4). pp. 394-417. ISSN 1525-383X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/MBR-09-2014-0046


Purpose This paper examines how multinational enterprises (MNEs) and local partners, including suppliers, customers, and competitors in China, improve their innovation capabilities through collaboration. We analyse this collaboration as a three-way interaction between the ownership-specific (O) advantages or firm-specific assets (FSAs) of the MNE subsidiary, the FSAs of the local partner, and the location-specific assets of the host location. Design/methodology/approach Our propositions are examined through a survey of 320 firms, supplemented with 30 in-depth case studies, based in mainland China. Findings We find that the recombination of asset-type (Oa) FSAs and transaction-type (Ot) FSAs from both partners leads to new innovation-related ownership advantages, or ‘recombinant advantages’. Ot FSAs, in the form of access to local suppliers, customers or government networks are particularly important for reducing the liability of foreignness for MNEs. Originality/value The study reveals important patterns of reciprocal transfer, sharing, and integration for different asset categories (tacit, codified) and different forms of FSA and explicitly links these to different innovation performance outcomes. The paper reports on these findings, making an empirical contribution in an important context (China-based partnerships). We also contribute to conceptual developments, connecting various kinds of FSA, tacit and codifiable assets and ‘recombinant advantages’. Limited conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions are made in linking asset integration with (measurable) innovation performance outcomes in international partnerships.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:37899

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