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External technology commercialization in large firms: results of a quantitative benchmarking study

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External technology commercialization (ETC), i.e., the commercialization of technological knowledge exclusively or in addition to its application inside the firm, has recently become a broader trend. However, this increase in outward technology transfer, e.g., by means of technology licensing, has been insufficiently reflected by academic research. Thus, we lack a detailed understanding of the evolution and the current scope of ETC, which represents an important component of technology portfolio management. Moreover, our insights into the functions of ETC and into firms' strategies, processes, and structures for managing ETC are limited. To address these research deficits, we present the results of a questionnaire-based benchmarking study in 154 medium-sized and large European firms spanning multiple industries. Thus, this article is among the first studies that provide quantitative empirical evidence for the current scope and management of ETC. After an introduction and theoretical considerations, the research design is described. Subsequently, the results of the survey are presented. In the final section, theoretical and managerial implications are discussed, and opportunities for further research are pointed out.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Chair for Technology and Innovation Management, Burgplatz 2; D-56179 Vallendar; Germany. ;, Email:

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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