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Multinational Enterprises in Regional Innovation Processes

Empirical Insights into Intangible Assets, Open Innovation and Firm Embeddedness in Regional Innovation Systems in Europe

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Jan-Philipp Kramer

This book is positioned at the interface of research in economic geography and strategic management, combining topics like intangible assets (IAs), Open Innovation strategies of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and Regional Innovation Systems (RIS). A micro-approach to analyzing the innovation behavior of nine MNEs in two advanced European economies, Germany and the UK, was applied, which has revealed key channels through which IAs are enhanced in the innovation processes of multinationals and has described their spatial roots and impact. Moreover, the study presents a novel matrix of the regional embeddedness of MNEs and systematically classifies the case study firms. Finally, it shows that geographical proximity to RIS is important for Open Innovation and enables MNEs to strengthen their absorptive capacity.

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2 INTANGIBLE ASSETS, MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES AND REGIONAL INNOVATION CAPACITY 12

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12 2 Intangible Assets, Multinational Enterprises and Regional Innovation Capacity: Theoretical Foundations and Conceptual Remarks Abstract The sources of value creation are changing, strongly relying on intangible assets. Intangible assets are the lifeblood of knowledge-intensive industries, i.e. industries with high growth prospects and innovation performance where value creation is disproportionally based on spe- cialized, non-repetitious activities. However, while the role of intangible assets is increasingly recognized as central to sustained competitiveness of firms and advanced economies, the un- derstanding of why and how IAs are now so critical still remains unclear. This chapter examines the still embryonic understanding of intangible assets, both at the level of the individual firm and the regional level, and puts forward that the application of an intangible assets perspective helps in understanding heretofore hidden interrelationships in Regional Innovation Systems. Furthermore, it is argued that a holistic conceptualization of IAs is necessary in order to show how effective and efficient different productive factors, in- cluding material and non-material assets, work in a Regional Innovation System. Finally, a conceptual framework is developed that is able to shed light on the role of intangible assets for both MNE innovation processes and regional innovation capacity. Keywords Intangible Assets, Competence-Based View, Knowledge Creation Processes, Multinational Enterprises, Business Network Theory. 2.1 Introduction Intangible assets (IAs) are now largely recognized as the most important drivers of knowledge creation and innovation, and consequently of economic growth. As emphasized by AUGIER and TEECE (2005) and MUDAMBI (2008), among others, the primary source of economic...

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