Dynacom Series

Multinational experience, absorptive capacity and knowledge exploitation. A comparative analysis of the electronics and chemical industries
Castellani D. and A. Zanfei
Using evidence from a novel data-set on international operations in which the
world's largest electronics and chemical corporations were involved in 1993-97,
this paper examines how multinational experience affects inter-firm linkage
creation. Remarkable similarities and differences emerge across industries in
this respect. On the one hand, specific multinational experience, measured by the
extent and nature of a firm's presence in a given country, appears to positively
impact on commitment intensive international operations, such as mergers and
acquisitions, in both electronics and chemical industries. This result is consistent
with a "knowledge based view" of the firm, combined with a "dynamic
transaction cost" approach. On the other hand, generic multinational experience
, measured by the extent and nature of a firm's global operations, positively
affects the creation of more "exploratory", non-equity linkages, in the
electronics industry and not in the chemical industry. We speculate that the
different impact of generic experience on linkage creation in the case of
electronicsvs. chemical firms is due to a number of structural diversities which
affect the process of knowledge absorption and exploitation in the two industries.
Implications are drawn for EU public technology policies for measures
concerning the promotion and selection of inward foreign direct investments in
the examined industries.

download pdf