Knowledge transfer in university quadruple helix ecosystems: an absorptive capacity perspective

Kristel Miller, Rodney McAdam, Sandra Moffett, A Alexander, P Puthusserry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increased understanding of knowledge transfer (KT) from universities to the wider regional knowledge ecosystem offers opportunities for increased regional innovation and commercialisation. The aim of this article is to improve the understanding of the KT phenomena in an open innovation context where multiple diverse quadruple helix stakeholders are interacting. An absorptive capacity-based conceptual framework is proposed, using a priori constructs which portrays the multidimensional process of KT between universities and its constituent stakeholders in pursuit of open innovation and commercialisation. Given the lack of overarching theory in the field, an exploratory, inductive theory building methodology was adopted using semi-structured interviews, document analysis and longitudinal observation data over a three-year period. The findings identify five factors, namely human centric factors, organisational factors, knowledge characteristics, power relationships and network characteristics, which mediate both the ability of stakeholders to engage in KT and the effectiveness of knowledge acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation. This research has implications for policy makers and practitioners by identifying the need to implement interventions to overcome the barriers to KT effectiveness between regional quadruple helix stakeholders within an open innovation ecosystem.
LanguageEnglish
Pages383-399
JournalR&D Management
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Fingerprint

Ecosystem
Absorptive capacity
Knowledge transfer
Stakeholders
Open innovation
Commercialization
Exploitation
Methodology
Organizational factors
Knowledge acquisition
Structured interview
Politicians
Factors
Theory building
Human factors
Regional innovation
Conceptual framework

Keywords

  • University technology transfer
  • absorptive capacity
  • triple helix

Cite this

@article{2c441da2ae434368be964a8ae6017677,
title = "Knowledge transfer in university quadruple helix ecosystems: an absorptive capacity perspective",
abstract = "Increased understanding of knowledge transfer (KT) from universities to the wider regional knowledge ecosystem offers opportunities for increased regional innovation and commercialisation. The aim of this article is to improve the understanding of the KT phenomena in an open innovation context where multiple diverse quadruple helix stakeholders are interacting. An absorptive capacity-based conceptual framework is proposed, using a priori constructs which portrays the multidimensional process of KT between universities and its constituent stakeholders in pursuit of open innovation and commercialisation. Given the lack of overarching theory in the field, an exploratory, inductive theory building methodology was adopted using semi-structured interviews, document analysis and longitudinal observation data over a three-year period. The findings identify five factors, namely human centric factors, organisational factors, knowledge characteristics, power relationships and network characteristics, which mediate both the ability of stakeholders to engage in KT and the effectiveness of knowledge acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation. This research has implications for policy makers and practitioners by identifying the need to implement interventions to overcome the barriers to KT effectiveness between regional quadruple helix stakeholders within an open innovation ecosystem.",
keywords = "University technology transfer, absorptive capacity, triple helix",
author = "Kristel Miller and Rodney McAdam and Sandra Moffett and A Alexander and P Puthusserry",
note = "Reference text: Alexander, A.T., Pearsons, S.R., Fielding, S.N., and Bessant, J.R. (2012) The open innovation era. Are university services up to the challenge? In: Bitran, I. and Conn, S. (eds), The XXII ISPIM Conference – Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona, Spain: Wiley. Almirall, E. and Wareham, J. (2011) Living Labs: arbiters of mid- and ground-level innovation. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 23, 1, 87–102. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 13 Argyris, C. and Schon, D.A. (1978) Organisational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. London: Addisson Wesley Longman Publishing. Arnkil, R., J{\"a}rvensivu, A., Koski, P., and Piirainen, T. (2010) Exploring quadruple helix – outlining user-oriented innovation models. University of Tampere, Institute for Social Research, Work Research Centre. Accessed 17/12/2014, from https://tampub.uta.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/65758/978-951-44-8209-0.pdf?sequence=1 Asheim, B.T. and Coenen, L. (2005) Knowledge bases and regional innovation systems: comparing Nordic clusters. Research Policy, 34, 8, 1173–1190. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 296 Bazeley P. (2007). Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo. London: Sage. Bendassolli, P.F. (2013) Theory building in qualitative research: reconsidering the problem of induction. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 14, 1, 25–36. Carayannis, E.G., Barth, R.D., and Campbell, D.F.J. (2012) The quinuple helix innovation model: global warming as a challenge and driver for innovation. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 1, 1–12. CrossRef Carayannis, E.G. and Rakhmatullin, R. (2014) The quadruple/quintuple innovation helixes and smart specialisation strategies for sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe and beyond. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 5, 2, 212–239. CrossRef Chesbrough, H. (2010) Business model innovation: Opportunities and barriers. Long Range Planning, 43, 354–363. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 254 Chesbrough, H. (2011) Bringing open innovation to services. MIT Sloan Management Review, 52, 85–91. Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 36 Cohen, W.A. and Levinthal, D.A. (1990) Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 1, 128–152. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 7659 Cooke, P. (2005) Regionally asymmetric knowledge capabilities and open innovation: exploring globalisation 2 – a new model of industry organisation. Research Policy, 34, 1128–1149. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 94 Daghfous, A. (2004) Absorptive capacity and the implementation of knowledge-intensive best practices. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 69, 2, 21–27. D'Este, P. and Patel, P. (2007) University-industry linkages in the UK: what are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry? Research Policy, 36, 9, 1295. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 219 Dowling, A. (2015) The Dowling review of business-university research collaborations. London: Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Accessed 08/08/2015, from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440927/bis_15_352_The_dowling_review_of_business-university_rearch_collaborations_2.pdf DTI (2004) Science and innovation investment framework 2004-2014. Accessed 20/12/2014, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/science_innovation_120704.pdf Easterby-Smith, M., Lyles, M.A., and Tsang, E.W.K. (2008) Inter-organizational knowledge transfer: current themes and future prospects. Journal of Management Studies, 45, 677–690. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 143 Eisenhardt, K. (1989) Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14, 532–550. Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 7799 Etzkowitz, H. and Klofsten, M. (2005) The innovating region: toward a theory of knowledge based regional development. R&D Management, 35, 243–255. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 95 Etzkowitz, H. and Leydesdorff, L. (2000) The dynamics of innovation: from national systems and ‘Mode 2’ to a triple helix of university-industry-government relations. Research Policy, 29, 109–123. CrossRef | Web of Science{\circledR} Times Cited: 1002 Fereday, J. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006) Demonstrating rigour using thematic analysis: a hybrid approach to inductive and deductive coding and theme development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5, 1, 1–11. Foster, D. and Jonker, J. (2005) Stakeholder relationships: the dialogue of engagement. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 5, 5, 51–57. 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Knowledge transfer in university quadruple helix ecosystems: an absorptive capacity perspective. / Miller, Kristel; McAdam, Rodney; Moffett, Sandra; Alexander, A; Puthusserry, P.

In: R&D Management, Vol. 46, No. 2, 01.03.2016, p. 383-399.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Knowledge transfer in university quadruple helix ecosystems: an absorptive capacity perspective

AU - Miller, Kristel

AU - McAdam, Rodney

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N1 - Reference text: Alexander, A.T., Pearsons, S.R., Fielding, S.N., and Bessant, J.R. (2012) The open innovation era. Are university services up to the challenge? In: Bitran, I. and Conn, S. (eds), The XXII ISPIM Conference – Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona, Spain: Wiley. Almirall, E. and Wareham, J. (2011) Living Labs: arbiters of mid- and ground-level innovation. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 23, 1, 87–102. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 13 Argyris, C. and Schon, D.A. (1978) Organisational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. London: Addisson Wesley Longman Publishing. Arnkil, R., Järvensivu, A., Koski, P., and Piirainen, T. (2010) Exploring quadruple helix – outlining user-oriented innovation models. University of Tampere, Institute for Social Research, Work Research Centre. Accessed 17/12/2014, from https://tampub.uta.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/65758/978-951-44-8209-0.pdf?sequence=1 Asheim, B.T. and Coenen, L. (2005) Knowledge bases and regional innovation systems: comparing Nordic clusters. Research Policy, 34, 8, 1173–1190. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 296 Bazeley P. (2007). Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo. London: Sage. Bendassolli, P.F. (2013) Theory building in qualitative research: reconsidering the problem of induction. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 14, 1, 25–36. Carayannis, E.G., Barth, R.D., and Campbell, D.F.J. (2012) The quinuple helix innovation model: global warming as a challenge and driver for innovation. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 1, 1–12. CrossRef Carayannis, E.G. and Rakhmatullin, R. (2014) The quadruple/quintuple innovation helixes and smart specialisation strategies for sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe and beyond. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 5, 2, 212–239. CrossRef Chesbrough, H. (2010) Business model innovation: Opportunities and barriers. Long Range Planning, 43, 354–363. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 254 Chesbrough, H. (2011) Bringing open innovation to services. MIT Sloan Management Review, 52, 85–91. Web of Science® Times Cited: 36 Cohen, W.A. and Levinthal, D.A. (1990) Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 1, 128–152. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 7659 Cooke, P. (2005) Regionally asymmetric knowledge capabilities and open innovation: exploring globalisation 2 – a new model of industry organisation. Research Policy, 34, 1128–1149. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 94 Daghfous, A. (2004) Absorptive capacity and the implementation of knowledge-intensive best practices. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 69, 2, 21–27. D'Este, P. and Patel, P. (2007) University-industry linkages in the UK: what are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry? Research Policy, 36, 9, 1295. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 219 Dowling, A. (2015) The Dowling review of business-university research collaborations. London: Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Accessed 08/08/2015, from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440927/bis_15_352_The_dowling_review_of_business-university_rearch_collaborations_2.pdf DTI (2004) Science and innovation investment framework 2004-2014. Accessed 20/12/2014, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/science_innovation_120704.pdf Easterby-Smith, M., Lyles, M.A., and Tsang, E.W.K. (2008) Inter-organizational knowledge transfer: current themes and future prospects. Journal of Management Studies, 45, 677–690. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science® Times Cited: 143 Eisenhardt, K. (1989) Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14, 532–550. Web of Science® Times Cited: 7799 Etzkowitz, H. and Klofsten, M. (2005) The innovating region: toward a theory of knowledge based regional development. R&D Management, 35, 243–255. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science® Times Cited: 95 Etzkowitz, H. and Leydesdorff, L. (2000) The dynamics of innovation: from national systems and ‘Mode 2’ to a triple helix of university-industry-government relations. Research Policy, 29, 109–123. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 1002 Fereday, J. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006) Demonstrating rigour using thematic analysis: a hybrid approach to inductive and deductive coding and theme development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5, 1, 1–11. Foster, D. and Jonker, J. (2005) Stakeholder relationships: the dialogue of engagement. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 5, 5, 51–57. CrossRef Fromhold-Eisebith, M. and Werker, C. (2013) Universities function in knowledge transfer: a geographical perspective. The Annals of Regional Science, 51, 3, 621–643. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 3 Frooman, J. (1999) Stakeholder influence strategies. Academy of Management Review, 24, 2, 191–205. Web of Science® Times Cited: 232 Galbraith, B. and McAdam, R. (2011) The promise and problem with open innovation. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 23, 1, 1–6. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 14 Galbraith, B., Mulvenna, M., McAdam, R., and Martin, S. (2008). Open innovation in connected health: an empirical study and research agenda. Proceedings of the ISPIM 2008 conference on open innovation: creating products and services through collaboration, Tours, France. Gassmann, O., Enkel, E., and Chesbrough, H. (2010) The future of open innovation. R&D Management, 40, 3, 213–221. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science® Times Cited: 165 Gupta, A.K. and Govindarajan, V. (2000) Knowledge flows within the multinational corporation. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 473–496. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science® Times Cited: 1000 Hewitt-Dundas, N. (2012) Research intensity and knowledge transfer activity in UK Universities. Research Policy, 41, 2, 262–275. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 22 Holi, M., Wickramasinghe, R., and van Leeuwen, M. (2008) Metrics for the evaluation of knowledge transfer activities at universities, UNICO Report. Accessed 18/12/2014, from http://ec.europa.eu/invest-in-research/pdf/download_en/library_house_2008_unico.pdf Howells, J. (2006) Intermediation and the role of intermediaries in innovation. Research Policy, 35, 715–728. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 304 Ivanova I. (2014) Quadruple helix systems and symmetry: a step towards helix innovation system classification. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 5, 2, 357–369. CrossRef Kenney, M. and Mowery, D. (2014) Public Universities and Regional Development: Insights from the University of California System. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Kirby, D.A. (2006) Creating entrepreneurial universities in the UK: applying entrepreneurship theory to practice. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 31, 5, 599–603. 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(2010) Gauging readiness for the quadruple helix: a study of 16 European Organisations. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 1, 3, 173–190. CrossRef Mariano, S. and Walter, C. (2015) The construct of absorptive capacity in knowledge management and intellectual capital research: content and text analysis. Journal of Knowledge Management, 19, 2, 372–400. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 2 Matzler, K. and Müller, J. (2011) Antecedents of knowledge sharing – examining the influence of learning orientation and performance orientation on knowledge sharing. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32, 3, 317–329. CrossRef | Web of Science® Times Cited: 14 McAdam, M., McAdam, R., Galbraith, B., and Miller, K. (2010) An exploratory study of principal investigator roles in UK university proof-of-concept processes: an absorptive capacity perspective. R&D Management, 40, 455. Wiley Online Library | Web of Science® Times Cited: 7 McAdam, R., Miller, K., McAdam, M., and Teague, S. 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PY - 2016/3/1

Y1 - 2016/3/1

N2 - Increased understanding of knowledge transfer (KT) from universities to the wider regional knowledge ecosystem offers opportunities for increased regional innovation and commercialisation. The aim of this article is to improve the understanding of the KT phenomena in an open innovation context where multiple diverse quadruple helix stakeholders are interacting. An absorptive capacity-based conceptual framework is proposed, using a priori constructs which portrays the multidimensional process of KT between universities and its constituent stakeholders in pursuit of open innovation and commercialisation. Given the lack of overarching theory in the field, an exploratory, inductive theory building methodology was adopted using semi-structured interviews, document analysis and longitudinal observation data over a three-year period. The findings identify five factors, namely human centric factors, organisational factors, knowledge characteristics, power relationships and network characteristics, which mediate both the ability of stakeholders to engage in KT and the effectiveness of knowledge acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation. This research has implications for policy makers and practitioners by identifying the need to implement interventions to overcome the barriers to KT effectiveness between regional quadruple helix stakeholders within an open innovation ecosystem.

AB - Increased understanding of knowledge transfer (KT) from universities to the wider regional knowledge ecosystem offers opportunities for increased regional innovation and commercialisation. The aim of this article is to improve the understanding of the KT phenomena in an open innovation context where multiple diverse quadruple helix stakeholders are interacting. An absorptive capacity-based conceptual framework is proposed, using a priori constructs which portrays the multidimensional process of KT between universities and its constituent stakeholders in pursuit of open innovation and commercialisation. Given the lack of overarching theory in the field, an exploratory, inductive theory building methodology was adopted using semi-structured interviews, document analysis and longitudinal observation data over a three-year period. The findings identify five factors, namely human centric factors, organisational factors, knowledge characteristics, power relationships and network characteristics, which mediate both the ability of stakeholders to engage in KT and the effectiveness of knowledge acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation. This research has implications for policy makers and practitioners by identifying the need to implement interventions to overcome the barriers to KT effectiveness between regional quadruple helix stakeholders within an open innovation ecosystem.

KW - University technology transfer

KW - absorptive capacity

KW - triple helix

U2 - 10.1111/radm.12182

DO - 10.1111/radm.12182

M3 - Article

VL - 46

SP - 383

EP - 399

JO - R&D Management

T2 - R&D Management

JF - R&D Management

SN - 0033-6807

IS - 2

ER -