Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The dual role of external corporate venturing in technological exploration

Vanhaverbeke, Wim and Li, Ying and Van de Vrande, Vareska (2009): The dual role of external corporate venturing in technological exploration.

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Firms tend toward local search when they continue to build on own technological knowledge. Therefore, technological exploration has usually been associated with some form of boundary spanning activities. In line with previous research this study focuses on organizational or external boundary-spanning exploration, but in contrast to previous studies, it distinguishes between explorative learning from partners and from non-partners. Partners are considered as organizations with whom a focal firm has some kind of external venturing relations, i.e. technological alliances, corporate venturing capital, or M&As. Central in the study is the dual role of these external corporate venturing relations and their effect on the two types of exploration. In explorative learning from partners, the external venturing relationships function as pipes to exchange information between the partners. In explorative learning from non-partners, partners may play a role as prisms. That is, they inform the focal firm about technological opportunities beyond its current network. The results of the empirical analysis confirm the dual role of the partners in advancing the two types of explorative learning. The results furthermore indicate that intermediate levels of technological distance between a focal firm and its partners foster explorative learning from partners, while low levels of technological distance enhances explorative learning from non-partners.

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