Motives for International Inter-Firm Cooperation on R&D and Innovation: Literature Overview and Recent Trends

Edwards-Schachter, M.; Castro-Martínez, E. & Fernández-de-Lucio, I.
International inter-firm cooperation for technological purposes increased substantially in the last four decades with the emergence of patterns of globalization of R&D and innovation. Motives and firms’ decision-making process to cooperate internationally are considered crucial aspects for successful inter-firm technological collaboration. This chapter reviews and summarizes the principal theoretical perspectives and trends on this issue from 1980 to 2012. Rather than focusing only on the motives of two-firm partnerships, there is a shift in literature in the last decade towards the analysis of how embedded firms are in social networks and divergence of motives related to the influence of multiple stakeholders. Furthermore, research attention paid to motives for technological cooperation is decreasing due, in part, to the decline experimented in manufacturing and R&D areas over the 1990s, the rapid increase in cross-border strategic alliances in business services, and complexities associated with the emergence of mixed modes of innovation.