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Network positioning and R&D activity: a study of Italian groups

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Traditionally, R&D studies focus on organisational characteristics and internal context factor effects on a firm's R&D activities. This paper extends previous research by analysing firm–level R&D expenditures in the wider context of inter–organisational networks. Using sample of 2002 manufacturing firms in Italy, it provides evidence that R&D intensity is linked to a firm's positioning within an industrial group's hierarchy. Further tests on the antecedents of R&D expenditures are carried out in relation to the effects of firm characteristics and industry factors. Important findings include a significant and positive association between R&D intensity and the firm's size, performance, intangible assets and industry concentration. These findings suggest that, in addition to firm–level factors and its market environment, network resources and organisation may play an important role in driving the intensity of the firm's R&D expenditures.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Bradford University School of Management, UK, 2: University of Nottingham Business School, UK

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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