Search Efforts, Selective Appropriation, and the Usefulness of New Knowledge: Evidence from a Comparison Across U.S. and Non-U.S. Patent Applicants

Search Efforts, Selective Appropriation, and the Usefulness of New Knowledge: Evidence from a Comparison Across U.S. and Non-U.S. Patent Applicants

Osamu Suzuki (Institute of Business and Accounting, Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jkm.2013010103
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Abstract

Prior research calls for more attention to organizational contexts’ moderating effects on a relationship between diversity in antecedent knowledge and resultant new knowledge generation. The authors examined 11,939 firms granted 103,952 U.S. patents between 1975 and 1999, and found a stronger positive association between the diversity and resultant new knowledge’s degree of usefulness under the context more strongly characterized with extensive search efforts (i.e., U.S. applicants). Under the context more strongly characterized with selective appropriation (i.e., non-U.S. applicants), the study found a weaker inverted U-shape association between the diversity and resultant new knowledge’s variability in usefulness. Author’s findings show that it is important needed to properly control for the effect of such organizational contexts for a more conclusive explanation on the role of antecedent knowledge diversity in new knowledge generation.
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Theory And Hypothesis

The new combination is a hallmark of novelty creation (Schumpeter, 1934). Favorable innovation performance can be expected to the extent that new ways to effectively combine hitherto uncombined components are identified. One effective strategy to achieve such a new combination is increasing the degree of diversity in combined components, including raw material, products, and knowledge. New knowledge is often generated by recombining extant knowledge. Accordingly, it is expected that diversity in such antecedent knowledge positively influences resultant new knowledge. As such, prior research focuses on characteristics of recombined knowledge components per se as possible determinants of resultant new knowledge’s usefulness. The key question asked has been what type of knowledge components selection can be best recombined to generate useful new knowledge. Such knowledge recombination characteristics like diversity in technological classes or diversity in external knowledge sources have been extensively analyzed (Benner & Tushman, 2002; Rosenkopf & Nerkar, 2001; Sørensen & Stuart, 2000).

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