Optimal cognitive distance and absorptive capacity

Bart Nooteboom*, Wim Vanhaverbeke, Geert Duysters, Victor Gilsing, Ad Van Den Oord

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic

Abstract

Our study tests hypotheses concerning the relation between innovative performance and cognitive distance in inter-firm alliances. The central hypothesis is that performance is an inverted-U shaped function of cognitive distance, which implies a certain optimal cognitive distance. A second hypothesis claims that optimal cognitive distance is higher for exploratory than for exploitative learning. A third hypothesis claims that optimal cognitive distance is a function of absorptive capacity, which depends on cumulative past R&D. Most hypotheses are confirmed on the basis of data from 994 alliances in a variety of industries, in the ten-year period 1986-1996. The results indicate a new hypothesis that with a large stock of knowledge one needs greater cognitive distance for further novelty.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event65th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2005 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 200510 Aug 2005

Conference

Conference65th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2005
CountryUnited States
CityHonolulu, HI
Period5/08/0510/08/05

Keywords

  • Cognitive distance
  • Interoganizational learning
  • Strategic alliances

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