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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


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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72 4 Intangible Assets, Multinational Enterprises and Regional Systems of Innovation in Europe Empirical Insights into the Microfoundations of Sustained Innovation Performance Abstract24 This paper provides qualitative insights on the key channels through which intangible assets (IAs) are enhanced in the innovation processes of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs), and de- scribes their spatial roots and impacts. The focus is specifically on three intangibles, namely organizational, network, and human capital, which have been shown in the literature to be crucial both to MNEs’ activities and to regional knowledge creation. The research was based on over forty in-depth interviews with senior managerial and technical staff of flagship MNEs in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and ICT sectors from both Germany and the United Kingdom. By focusing on the processes through which invest- ment in IAs occurs and the structures that support those processes within the firm and its re- gional environment, some of the key dimensions through which the three IAs are enhanced and contribute to the embeddedness of MNEs in Regional Innovation Systems are identified. Keywords Intangible Assets, Multinational Enterprises, Dynamic Capabilities, Regional Innovation Sys- tems in Europe, Case Study (Paired-Cases). 4.1 Introduction Intangible assets (IAs) are increasingly seen as critical drivers of knowledge creation, innovation, and consequently economic growth. These assets can be defined as “all non-material factors that contribute to the performance of firms in the production of goods or the provision of services, or that are expected to generate future economic benefits to the entities or individuals that control their deployment...

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