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Outbound open innovation and its effect on firm performance: examining environmental influences

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Firms may open up their innovation processes on two dimensions. While inbound open innovation refers to the acquisition of external technology in open exploration processes, outbound open innovation describes the outward transfer of technology in open exploitation processes. Prior open innovation research has focused on the inbound dimension, whereas the outbound dimension has been relatively neglected. Therefore, this article addresses the relationship between outbound open R&D strategies and firm performance. We use data from 136 industrial firms to test four hypotheses on the moderating effects of environmental factors in the relationship between open innovation strategies and firm performance. The results show that the degree of technological turbulence, the transaction rate in technology markets, and the competitive intensity in technology markets strengthen the positive effects of outbound open innovation on firm performance. By contrast, the degree of patent protection does not facilitate successful open innovation. The results are crucially important to managers because they show under what environmental conditions open innovation strategies enhance performance.

Document Type: Research Article


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

Publication date: September 1, 2009


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