An Empirical Examination of the R&D Boundaries of the Firm - A Problem-Solving Perspective
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We consider, both theoretically and empirically, how different organization modes are aligned to govern the efficient solving of technological problems. The data set is a sample from the Chinese consumer electronics industry. Following mainly the problem solving perspective (PSP) within the knowledge based view (KBV), we develop and test several PSP and KBV hypotheses, in conjunction with competing transaction cost economics (TCE) alternatives, in an examination of the determinants of the R&D organization mode. The results show that a firm’s existing knowledge base is the single most important explanatory variable. Problem complexity and decomposability are also found to be important, consistent with the theoretical predictions of the PSP, but it is suggested that these two dimensions need to be treated as separate variables. TCE hypotheses also receive some support, but the estimation results seem more supportive of the PSP and the KBV than the TCE.