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Absorptive capacity plays a key role in determining firms' capability to access and make use of external knowledge. However, little evidence has been provided about this important determinant of knowledge acquisition in the context of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This article investigates the importance of absorptive capacity created and accumulated in R&D efforts and in qualified human resources, on SMEs' capabilities to collaborate with other firms, with universities and with technology transfer centres. The empirical evidence is based on a survey of interviews with 276 manufacturing SMEs located in the Lombardy region (Italy). Probit model estimations demonstrate that even in SMEs absorptive capacity has a relevant impact on the ability of firms to establish collaborations with external organisations.
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Keywords: Absorptive capacity; Collaboration; SMEs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali (DPTEA), Università Luiss Guido Carli, Roma, Italy

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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