The importance of the potential forces acting on knowledge acquisition and exploitation by start-ups has received much attention by strategic management researchers (Ahuja, 2000; Yli-Renko, Autio and Sapienza, 2001). Much has been written (Baptista, 2000; Hagedoorn, Duysters, 2002) on the impact of external social relationships on the start-ups’ knowledge acquisition and exploitation processes (Amesse, Cohendet, 2001; Lundvall, 1998). Geographical proximity between interrelated partners is generally assumed to reinforce these two processes, since knowledge is partially tacit and localized (Cooke, Willis, 1999; McKelevy, Marcus, 2005). In particular, since Marshall’s (1920) seminal work on agglomeration economies, both strategic studies and economic geographers have considered geographical proximity the key parameter that start-ups can use to increase their exposure to potential knowledge spillovers (Alcacer, Chung, 2007; Macpherson, Holt, 2007). However these studies have paid little or no attention to other dimensions of proximity (Boschma, Lambooy, 1999; Beal, Gimeno, 2001). In fact, recent evidence from economic geographers suggest that although geographical proximity may facilitate interactive learning, it is neither a prerequisite nor a sufficient condition for reinforcing the processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation by co-localised start-ups (Antonelli, 2000; Boschma, 2005; Rallet, Torre, 2000). These researchers point out that other dimensions of proximity – such as cognitive and social dimensions – besides geographical proximity are key in understanding the acquisition and exploitation of knowledge by local start-ups (Boschma, Lambooy, 1999; Asheim, Cohenen, 2005; Torre, Gilly, 2000) . In this paper we intend to verify empirically the impact of geographical proximity on the processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation by co-localised start-ups, while also considering the role of both social and cognitive dimensions of proximity (Kaiser, 2002; Powell et al., 2002; Sorenson et al., 2006). We accord to the idea of using the concept of proximity in a multidimensional way, analysing other non-tangible dimensions of proximity, as suggested by Boschma (2005). Our final aim is to integrate the framework of strategic management researchers concerning the importance of geographical proximity between business partners for their processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation, with a deep analysis of other dimensions of proximity – social and cognitive –according to the economic geographic literature (Boschma, 2005; Rallet, Torre, 2000). The findings from this research broaden our understanding of how start-ups located inside an industrial cluster acquire knowledge from their customers and exploit it for the innovation activity. In particular, we recognize the need to reconsider assumptions regarding the importance of geographical proximity between business partners during their processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation (Alcacer, Chung, 2007; Keeble et al., 1999). The paper is structured as follows: the second section reviews related literature, while the third section develops the set of hypotheses. The fourth section presents the sample, data and the applied methods. The fifth section presents the results of the empirical analysis. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion and suggestions for further research.

Proximities, knowledge acquisition and exploiation in high-tech start-ups

BOARI, CRISTINA;PRESUTTI, MANUELA
2008

Abstract

The importance of the potential forces acting on knowledge acquisition and exploitation by start-ups has received much attention by strategic management researchers (Ahuja, 2000; Yli-Renko, Autio and Sapienza, 2001). Much has been written (Baptista, 2000; Hagedoorn, Duysters, 2002) on the impact of external social relationships on the start-ups’ knowledge acquisition and exploitation processes (Amesse, Cohendet, 2001; Lundvall, 1998). Geographical proximity between interrelated partners is generally assumed to reinforce these two processes, since knowledge is partially tacit and localized (Cooke, Willis, 1999; McKelevy, Marcus, 2005). In particular, since Marshall’s (1920) seminal work on agglomeration economies, both strategic studies and economic geographers have considered geographical proximity the key parameter that start-ups can use to increase their exposure to potential knowledge spillovers (Alcacer, Chung, 2007; Macpherson, Holt, 2007). However these studies have paid little or no attention to other dimensions of proximity (Boschma, Lambooy, 1999; Beal, Gimeno, 2001). In fact, recent evidence from economic geographers suggest that although geographical proximity may facilitate interactive learning, it is neither a prerequisite nor a sufficient condition for reinforcing the processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation by co-localised start-ups (Antonelli, 2000; Boschma, 2005; Rallet, Torre, 2000). These researchers point out that other dimensions of proximity – such as cognitive and social dimensions – besides geographical proximity are key in understanding the acquisition and exploitation of knowledge by local start-ups (Boschma, Lambooy, 1999; Asheim, Cohenen, 2005; Torre, Gilly, 2000) . In this paper we intend to verify empirically the impact of geographical proximity on the processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation by co-localised start-ups, while also considering the role of both social and cognitive dimensions of proximity (Kaiser, 2002; Powell et al., 2002; Sorenson et al., 2006). We accord to the idea of using the concept of proximity in a multidimensional way, analysing other non-tangible dimensions of proximity, as suggested by Boschma (2005). Our final aim is to integrate the framework of strategic management researchers concerning the importance of geographical proximity between business partners for their processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation, with a deep analysis of other dimensions of proximity – social and cognitive –according to the economic geographic literature (Boschma, 2005; Rallet, Torre, 2000). The findings from this research broaden our understanding of how start-ups located inside an industrial cluster acquire knowledge from their customers and exploit it for the innovation activity. In particular, we recognize the need to reconsider assumptions regarding the importance of geographical proximity between business partners during their processes of knowledge acquisition and exploitation (Alcacer, Chung, 2007; Keeble et al., 1999). The paper is structured as follows: the second section reviews related literature, while the third section develops the set of hypotheses. The fourth section presents the sample, data and the applied methods. The fifth section presents the results of the empirical analysis. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion and suggestions for further research.
2008
Proceedings of Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
174
178
C. Boari; A. Majocchi; M.Presutti
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/70438
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