MNCs Between the Local and the Global: Knowledge Bases, Proximity and Distributed Knowledge Networks

The new working paper MNCs Between the Local and the Global: Knowledge Bases, Proximity and Distributed Knowledge Networks by Björn Asheim, Bernd Ebersberger and Sverre Herstad is available as a draft.

The strategies and decisions of MNCs of how to organize their innovation work, and where to locate their R&D facilities are contingent upon a number of different structural properties connected to the companies, their products and productions, institutional frameworks and local embeddedness. One important characteristic of companies is the dominant knowledge base(s) of their activity, which determine the need for proximity to collaboration partners and presence in specific territorial environments. Another important characteristic is the institutional and relational proximity between subsidiaries and MNC HQs. This paper discusses these structural properties against the background of existing research, and proceeds to conduct a two-step empirical analysis using Norwegian community Innovation survey data. First, it investigates the relationship between knowledge bases, forms of MNC affiliation and the geographical scope of the external collaborative network maintained internationally by Norwegian enterprises. This reveals that the analytical knowledge base and MNC affiliation both increase this scope. Second, it investigates the extent to which parent MNC subsidiary presence in a specific world region impact on the diversity of collaborative relationships maintained in the same region. For synthetic knowledge based enterprises, the presence of a daughter subsidiary in a given world region has a strong, positive impact on external collaboration in the same region. These findings are consistent with the notion that the synthetic knowledge base is subjected to stronger forces of co-localization and embeddedness than the analytical knowledge base.

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