SME Knowledge Commercialization Through Public Sector Partnerships

Neil A. Thompson*, Andrea M. Herrmann, Marko P. Hekkert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Collaborating with public research organizations (PROs) helps SMEs acquire the knowledge and skills they need to successfully innovate. But do they also help SMEs reduce their exposure to involuntary knowledge misappropriation and legitimacy deficits? Building from transaction economics and population ecology theories, we hypothesize that innovative SMEs collaborate with PROs to not only co-develop knowledge, but also to mitigate the risk that knowledge will be misappropriated from larger firms as well as to build overall organizational legitimacy. Binary and ordinal regression analyses using the EIM Technology Panel including 779 innovative SMEs in the Netherlands reveal that some of the variations in SME innovation partnership behavior may indeed be explained by efforts to avoid knowledge misappropriation and gain endorsements and affiliation with highly legitimate PROs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1850021
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Technology Management
Issue number3
Early online date19 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • innovation barriers
  • Knowledge misappropriation
  • organizational legitimacy
  • SME partnerships

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