The initiation and evolution of interfirm knowledge transfer in R and D relationships

Dries Faems*, Maddy Janssens, Bart Van Looy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we examine the process of interfirm knowledge transfer in R&D relationships. Based upon an embedded case study, we develop a model for understanding the initiation and evolution of interfirm knowledge transfer. Complementing previous cross-sectional research, this model points to the importance of legal clauses as a formal design alternative to equity governance structures, expectations of a long-term relationship as a specific indicator of trust, and similarity of technological equipment as an important facilitator for acquisition and assimilation of knowledge. This model also indicates that interfirm knowledge transfer is likely to continue in R&D relationships as long as perceived market threats remain limited and perceived technological complementarities remain extensive. In addition, we point to two strategies to organize an R&D relationship such that continuation of interfirm knowledge transfer is more likely to occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1728
Number of pages30
JournalOrganization studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Interfirm knowledge transfer
  • R and D relationships
  • n/a OA procedure


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