Effects of technological distance on innovation performance under heterogeneous technological orientations

Shanshan Zhu, John Hagedoorn, Shuhui Zhang, Fengchao Liu

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Research and development (R&D) collaborations are assumed to be important meansby which firms facilitate innovation performance; however, collaborations with different kinds of partners may yield different innovation outputs. Building on the knowledgebased view (KBV) and the behavioural theory of the firm, this paper investigates the effects of technologically short-distance R&D collaborations and technologically longdistance R&D collaborations on focal firms' innovation performance. The relative magnitudes of these effects shift once the internal technological orientations (i.e., technological breadth and depth) of focal firms are taken into account. The results from a quantitative data set of 203 international new-energy automotive public enterprises indicate that short-distance R&D collaborations are better for the innovation performance of high-breadth & high-depth firms and high-breadth & low-depth firms. However, collaborating with long-distance partners is better for the innovation performance of low-breadth & high-depth firms. No significant difference was found between the two kinds of collaborations for low-breadth & low-depth firms. The findings have managerial implications for how firms can effectively select partners to improve their innovation performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102301
Early online date29 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • technologically short-distance collaboration; technologically long-distance collaboration; technological breadth; technological depth; knowledge-based view; behavioural theory

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