1999/23 LEM Working Paper Series

International Growth as Integration of R&D Activities. Evidence from Large Multinational Companies
 
Guercini S.
 
  Abstract
 
Corporate R&D internationalization has been analyzed predominantly in terms of the geographic diversification of multinational companies' research laboratories, and only to a lesser extent as a process involving the development of resources and capabilities within organizations and as a means of favoring international integration. This paper analyzes the relation between these two dimensions of internationalization, both of which are relevant for study of the multinational growth of R&D activities. Examination of the literature together with in-depth case reports of two large multinational clusters provides evidence in support of the following statements:
R&D internationalization can be seen as a "gradual" process that takes shape through the formation of specific resources and capabilities, which are developed within individual organizations but are designed to achieve integration both with foreign organizational units of the multinational cluster itself and also with other national innovation systems;
Multinational R&D follows a strategy that is characterized by a strong inter-relation between the formation of foreign research activities and the character of the integration process;
Corporate strategies may correspond to highly diverse and at times even contrasting R&D internationalization models, as shown by the emblematic case analyses presented here. The presence of these different models limits the scope of any general interpretation of the determinants and implications of R&D internationalization.


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