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DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

Many earlier studies have found inconsistent results on the relationship between cooperative  strategies  and  start–up  performance  (McGee  &  Dowling,  1994).  In  this study, we provide considerable evidence for the importance of collaborative technology strategies on start–up company outcomes. While collaboration seems to enhance growth and innovation in

  TABLE 4.
Results Of Regression Analysis. Firm Growth As The Dependent Variable. Unstandardized Regression Coefficients Reported; Standard Errors Shown In Parentheses.
MODEL

  1 2 3
Intercept -.516 -.767# -.969*
  (0.368) (0.398) (0.464)
R&D age     0.016**
      (0.005)
N R&D   0.233* 0.16
    (0.111) (0.098)
Ln rd 0.992** 0.835** 0.606**
  (0.21) (0.23) (0.19)
R2 0.284 0.328 0.398
Adj. R2 0.272 0.302 0.355
p<0.1, p<0.05, *p<0.01 (two-tailed tests)

general, it may become a liability for radical innovation. This study was also able to show that not only the quantity, but also the quality, or profile of collaborative relationships counts. In all, we find that resource–based view alone is not sufficient to explain the effects of collaboration. Industrial organization theory seems to have an important perspective to add to this research, and should thus be included in further studies on the topic.

These conclusions lead to several ideas for future research. Choosing firm growth as the dependent variable is customary in studies of new high technology ventures. A question for further research is whether this outcome is actually applicable to all new venture studies. It is possible, for example, that not all owners of start–up companies have growth as the primary goal (see for example Hay, 1992), or that the factors that positively affect growth in the short term may actually become a liability for growth and innovation in the long term. Another topic for future research is whether we can find dual effects of collaboration in other types of collaborative relationships as well. This study focused on R&D collaboration, but it is possible that incumbent inertia affects marketing and production collaborations as well. The hypotheses also need further testing in a larger sample in other industries. More international data should also be included to increase generalizability.

Since many startups develop and commercialize their technologies through collaboration, the practical relevance of our results is high. Collaborator selection can strongly affect the future direction of the company. Incumbent partners may have a positive effect on short–term growth, but partner age becomes a liability for radical innovation output.

Overall, this study strongly supports separating incremental and radical innovation outcomes in R&D collaboration studies. While building up resources and capabilities is advantageous in general, new entrepreneurial companies need also to be wary of the negative effects of incumbent routines and capabilities. A conservative approach may give some startups an early growth advantage, but firms with a more innovative approach are likely to catch up later. Radical innovations are less likely to be born in the shadow of incumbents.
 

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