Cooperation Strategies of Enterprises: the Duration of Collaboration
Research fellows of the HSE ISSEK Laboratory for Economics of Innovation studied the duration of cooperation in innovation activities. The results are reported in HSE ISSEK information bulletin series “Science, Technology, Innovation”.
Efficiency of cooperative strategies of innovation enterprises depends on various factors. One of the key factors is long-term (regular) interactions between the parties concerned.
Firms may engage in cooperation within the supply-chain, with market actors, universities and research organizations and also with public authorities. Since innovation is complex and expensive, and innovation projects are characterized by high risk and uncertainty, companies strive to build long-term partnerships (more than 5 years) or cooperate on a regular basis.
Relationship duration plays a particularly important role in cooperation with public authorities (41% of surveyed innovation-active manufacturing firms cooperate on a regular basis, 25.5% prefer long-term cooperation for more than 5 years). Close, long-term relationship with public and local bodies can contribute to risk reduction, provide additional funding and other implicit and explicit benefits.
At the same time, innovative companies participate in occasional, short-term cooperation projects with consulting firms. They provide innovative strategies, consulting and implementation services to help firms achieve significant and measureable results.This type of interactions was chosen by 22% of the enterprises participating in the regular HSE monitoring survey. Sustainable and long-term contacts continue to be widely practiced through joint projects as well.
Using principal component factor analysis with varimax rotation six heterogeneous cooperation types based on the time span of cooperation were revealed:
1 — with knowledge producers, 2 — within the value chain, 3 — with related industry actors, 4 — with public authorities, 5 — with competitors, 6 — with consulting firms. These types of cooperation explain more than 80% of the total variance of cooperative innovation strategies in Russian manufacturing.
These findings suggest that firm’s decision on partnership duration with various actors is taken independently. It does not refer explicitly to duration which is appropriate to all companies.
The time span of cooperation with each partner is influenced by numerous internal factors (as innovation strategy and firm level objectives) and external factors (as competition regimes). Thus, intensive and long-term cooperation within the supply chain may be combined with one-time or occasional cooperation with science institutions.
The results emphasize the need to take into account the heterogeneity of cooperative innovation strategies in the theoretical modelling of the innovation processes as well as practical policy aimed at intensifying inter-firm cooperation and intensified networking.