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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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5 CATCHING THE LOCAL BUZZ BY EMBEDDING? EMPIRICAL INSIGHTS INTO THE REGIONAL EMBEDDEDNESS OF MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES IN GERMANY & THE UK 112

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112 5 Catching the local buzz by embedding? Empirical Insights into the Regional Embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises in Germany and the UK Abstract What determines the regional embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and how do these globally operating firms harness external knowledge that is considered to be “out there” in Regional Innovation Systems (RIS)? Despite the increasing importance of this mat- ter, both from a research and management perspective, there is still insufficient understanding of the regional embeddedness of MNEs. By integrating insights from studies on intangible assets, corporate organization of inno- vation, and RIS, this exploratory case study analysis presents a novel matrix of MNE regional embeddedness, using qualitative evidence from 56 in-depth interviews with senior members of leading MNEs from the ICT, automotive, and pharmaceutical industries from highly devel- oped RIS in Germany and the UK. Keywords Regional Embeddedness, Multinational Enterprises, Intangible Assets, Regional Innovation Systems. 5.1 Introduction Recently there has been a growing awareness in the management, international business, and economic geography literatures that MNEs are increasingly using their global networks to augment competitive advantages and/or create new ad- vantages by tapping into geographically dispersed sources of knowledge within RIS (CANTWELL and IAMMARINO, 2003; REVILLA DIEZ and BERGER, 2005; BOUTELLIER et al., 2008; MUDAMBI, 2008; NARULA and MICHEL, 2010). BASF’s biotech center near Boston, the Hitachi Dublin Laboratory on the campus of Trinity College Dublin, and Nokia’s Research Center in Palo Alto are good examples of such embedding strategies. However, while research has emphasized that MNEs need...

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