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The organization of innovation services in science and technology parks: Evidence from a multi-case study analysis in Europe

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Abstract

Science and Technology Parks (STPs) are key elements of the infrastructure supporting the growth of today's global knowledge economy. STPs create environments that foster collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and provide innovation services to support new technology-based firms in their activities. However, despite the extensive research on STPs, limited evidence has been provided regarding their organization of a portfolio of innovation services. In this work, we deepen the organizational challenges in developing a portfolio of innovation services through the analysis of the literature and ethnographic research on six case studies of European STPs in Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. In conclusion, based on the literature and the case studies, we highlight i) the four main alternatives to include an innovation service in an STP's portfolio; ii) the fundamental six drivers influencing the choice between these different alternatives.

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Science and Technology Parks (STPs) have spread worldwide in recent decades. However, scientific evidence about their effect for on-park firms is mixed. This chapter draws on the literature to suggest that this is due, in part, to the fact that most studies do not consider the heterogeneous effects of on-park location. It is reasonable to expect some parks will be more effective and what is important is to understand why.
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Science park has been widely regarded as an effective mechanism to promote innovation and development of new ventures and industrial clusters in a region or country. With a variety of innovation factors such as venture capital and entrepreneurial talents injected into a science park, it demonstrates a positive effect on flowing and converting of knowledge in technological entrepreneurship for emerging economies. In this paper, we constructed an effect model of technological entrepreneurship of a science park in the context of an emerging economy. Specifically, we studied the Wuhan Donghu High-Tech Zone in China. We analyzed the incubation effect of science and technology enterprises, the interaction effect between innovation and entrepreneurship, the synergistic effect between science and technological innovation and system innovation, and the cluster effect and ecological effect. We conducted a system dynamics simulation to quantify the interaction of technological innovation, institutional innovation, technological entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture. Simulation results show that a joint action of several innovative subjects and factors promote the development and prosperity of a science park.
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Science and Technology Parks (STPs) has become fairly widespread through the world, although their effect on firms' innovation performance is still a very debated issue. A recent stream in the literature points to heterogeneity of tenants and of parks themselves being a key concept when assessing STPs effect on tenants' performance. An important source of STPs heterogeneity that has been disregarded so far is the degree of university involvement in these parks. At the extremes, there are parks that are owned and managed by universities, and parks with no formal links with a university. We use data from the Community Innovation Survey (CIS) for Spain and a survey of STP park managers to analyse how the degree of involvement of a university in the STP is related to innovation outputs of its tenants and their links with universities. We show that higher involvement of a university in the STP is positively related to the number of patent applications, but negatively related to tenant's innovation sales. In addition, we find no robust evidence that higher involvement of a university in the STP is positively related to the propensity for park firms to cooperate with a university or to purchase external R&D services from the university.
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The effectiveness of Science and Technology Parks (STPs) as instruments of innovation policy has generated thriving debate among academics, practitioners and policy makers. A gap in the existing literature on STPs is that research mostly does not consider STPs' heterogeneity. The present paper aims at filling this gap, analysing the influence of different STP characteristics on their tenants' performance. Using data on 849 firms and 25 STPs from the 2009 Community Innovation Survey for Spain and a survey of STP managers respectively and after controlling for a wide set of firms characteristics, we find that: (i) firms located in very new or longer established STPs show better innovative performance; (ii) the size of the STP and its management company positively affects the innovative performance of tenants while services provision has no effect on firms' achieving better results; and (iii) firms in less technologically developed regions benefit more from location in an STP. Theoretical, policy and managerial contributions of our research are discussed in the paper.
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Science and technology parks are of great importance in the business context of the region in which they carry out their activity. They are the main mechanisms of public and private initiatives for the promotion of research, development and innovation, and technology transfer. The main goal of this type of institutions is not a purely economic benefit, but also social and cultural, which makes them an appropriate investment from the public institutions' viewpoint. They promote the creation of companies and agreements with universities and research centers, generate employment, and attract technology-based companies. Therefore, they require in-detail assessment to understand their operation to generate action plans and models that new parks or those who are still in their initial growth phase may follow. This study establishes a series of models—or operation strategies—to identify the strategies of successful parks; that is, parks that have overcome the initial stage and handle high revenue volumes, high rates of land occupation, and a large number of employees.
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Ethnography is a research method that seeks to gain a detailed understanding of how informants see their world and how they understand the problems that they confront in everyday life. As such it is an ideal method to both study the practices that entrepreneurship educators engage in and the discursive and cognitive shifts that learners go through as they seek a more entrepreneurial understanding. The paper suggests that the flexibility and rigorous nature of ethnography provides an appropriate tool for evaluating entrepreneurship teaching in educational institutions. Entrepreneurship is a practice that has always been of significance to economic development and is increasingly playing an important part in many aspects of 21st century life. While the discourses that surround entrepreneurship have been widely contested they have nevertheless seduced many nation states into searching for new ways to encourage and sustain economic growth. These discourses are evident in policies that use rhetoric about creating more entrepreneurs through explicitly encouraging entrepreneurial behavior by teaching entrepreneurship to students at all levels of education. The introduction of entrepreneurship education into Higher Education discourses can be traced throughout the western world over the last two decades. Whether talking about starting businesses, often the focus for American universities, or encouraging enterprising behavior, the terms used in the UK and some parts of Europe, entrepreneurship education has, using models from cognitive psychology and social cognition theories from education gradually become established as a discipline in Higher Education. As educational anthropologists we are interested in exploring the parameters of this new discipline. We propose that the nature of this discipline lends itself to ethnography as a method for discussions about how enterprising behavior is nurtured, supported and evolves into entrepreneurial practices through socially constructed communities. A close look at the practices of entrepreneurship educators in a Danish Higher Education institute stimulated an analysis of what these teachers do and say they are doing in the entrepreneurship classroom.
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Although many authors have analysed the role and the efficiency of science parks, only a few contributions have analysed national science park systems (SPSs) as a whole. Because of the lack of data, evidence regarding the performance of science parks in a nation is very limited and there is a lack of comparisons between different systems. This paper aims to introduce a simple framework to analyse SPSs and to show its use for comparing the state of development and the main differences of two or more SPSs. Its application to the Italian and Spanish systems shows that science parks play a more important role in Spain than in Italy. The main causes of these differences are argued to be (i) the presence of a set of coherent and particular policies which favour science parks in Spain and (ii) the internal factors of the Spanish science park system, including business models of the science parks and the role of the national association.
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Mixed evidence has been found regarding how locating in a cluster or a park affects firms’ performance. This paper investigates how locating in different types of clusters and parks interacted by firm size or in-house R&D capability affects a firm’s innovation. Empirically testing the research hypotheses by the data of 165 Taiwan’s manufacturing firms in the information and communication technology sector and taking policy-driven parks (e.g., science parks and industrial parks) and spontaneously clusters as examples, we find that in emerging economies, firms with inferior in-house R&D capability gain more innovation benefits by locating in a science park or a spontaneous cluster while smaller firms gain more innovation benefits by locating in an industry park or a spontaneous cluster. Moreover, our findings also suggest that locating in a science park, smaller firms benefit more than larger firms in terms of innovation performance whereas larger firms benefit more than smaller firms in terms of market performance. The findings suggest that in emerging economies, compared to larger firms, smaller firms are less influenced by negative spillover effect when locating in clusters or parks.
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Science and Technology Parks (STP) are one of the most important and extensive innovation policy initiatives introduced in recent years. This work evaluates the impact of STP on firm product innovation in the Spanish context. Spain is less developed than most of the advanced countries, and regional and national governments are prioritizing STP initiatives. The large firm sample for our study is from the Spanish Technological Innovation Survey, provided by the National Statistical Institute. We focus on average treatment effects for firms located in 22 Spanish STP. Our results show that Spanish STP have a strong and positive impact on the probability and amount of product innovation achieved by STP located firms. These results hold for different assumptions about the mechanisms underlying location in a STP.
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In the ever more turbulent business environment, firms concentrate on their core capabilities and resort to suppliers as sources of complementary know-how. In other words, they tend to co-design their products. This paper shows that co-design may occur in different forms and that success of supplier involvement in product development mainly depends on the proper choice of the type of relationship according to the contingencies to be dealt with. In particular, by adopting a problem solving perspective and a case study approach, we have identified four different approaches to co-design, depending on the type of knowledge transferred from the supplier to the customer (product knowledge or process knowledge) and the degree of interaction between the partners. In this latter regard, a co-design relationship may occur with a loose interaction (when the customer defines the component specifications and the supplier designs the solution that better fits those specifications) or a tight interaction (when the problem solving process is not split between the partners). The paper shows that the choice between a joint or split co-design approach depends on two context factors: the uncertainty of the design endeavour (i.e., the novelty of the component to be developed and the turbulence of the environment) and the relational capabilities (i.e., the capabilities to manage the information flows occurring between the two patterns).
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By extending interpretative methods to business settings, this paper formalizes a model of Ethnographic Case Study (ECS) built upon extensive literature review and abductive elaboration of two-year fieldwork on 12 Italian companies. Objectives and related contributions are twofold. First, key compulsory and complementary stages of ECS marketing research are presented for business contexts. Second, the paper envisions the quality of the knowledge generated through the ECS inquiry, and argues that the methodological peculiarities of this approach may help reduce the relevance gap affecting business research. The systematic cooperation between researchers and practitioners along the ECS phases may benefit relevance through (i) the fine tuning of reciprocal expectations, (ii) the sharing of the research experience, (iii) the multiplication of the beneficiaries of the findings granted by ECS, and (iv) the participation in the process of knowledge dissemination. In this light, the ECS model supports the convincement that methods are not only a way to theory validation but also to theory discovery.
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This paper reviews the strategic benefits and problems relating to the outsourcing decision. These include issues of cost, quality, flexibility, strategic focus, leverage and diversification, the potential loss of critical skills and knowledge, and appropriation of final product value. The outsourcing decision is presented as one that will vary between firms within an industry through the differences in each organization’s context. A model is developed, structuring the contextual factors: capability, cost, technology, supply and product market conditions, to enable a consideration of the outsourcing decision through a focus upon its implications for competitive advantage.
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Organisations increasingly outsource service delivery to specialist subcontractors. These buyers, their subcontractors and their end customers operate in a triadic service relationship. In these triads, the buyer lacks direct control over service delivery and completely depends on the subcontractor for its performance towards its end customers. Subcontractors are confronted with two principals (buyer and end customer) who may have conflicting objectives.Although traditionally focusing on dyadic buyer–seller relationships rather than triads, Agency Theory provides valuable suggestions on the type of contract to be used and the type of monitoring to be employed. We adopt Agency Theory as a theoretical lens to look at the buyer–subcontractor–end customer triad and develop propositions on the design of contractual arrangements and monitoring activities. We use the results of two cases of service triads to provide some initial validation for these propositions.
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This paper examines the traditional and contemporary approaches to conducting research into the marketing management activities of entrepreneurial small firms (ESF). It argues that these approaches are inappropriate in that they fail to take adequate account of the nature and characteristics of such enterprises and the individuals who manage them. It is contended that the best approaches are to be found under the auspices of the wider qualitative paradigm. In particular a syncretised qualitative methodology within a multiple reality ontology is offered for consideration.
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Studies the outsourcing phenomenon, starting with strategic analysis and working through the many practical considerations and decisions that practising managers must make. As outsourcing is not to be taken lightly, the disadvantages are discussed in some detail. Of note too, are sections concerned with managing the outsourcing relationship, post outsourcing and morale, all concerned with the human resource management aspects of outsourcing.
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The quest for service excellence and competitive edge by firms result in the constant search for effective process and information systems management methods. The recent emergence of the application service provision (ASP) business model has promised firms remote-access to industry robust business processes and “best of breed” enterprise applications on a rental basis. This paper examines how the ASP business model facilitates business process and information systems improvements in firms through effective process management. This is pursued through a review of relevant literature and empirical evidence gathered from a case study-based investigation in six firms in the UK. By examining the features of remote application and business process outsourcing in the context of business process management, this paper outlines how firms can improve their business and IT performance. Findings from empirical evidence are used to substantiate the arguments and suggest areas for future research.
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The growth of outsourcing has resulted in numerous different outsourcing arrangements, ranging from out-tasking and managed services to business process outsourcing and transformational outsourcing. The growing lexicon of outsourcing terminology has caused confusion for many managers and academicians alike, who tend to view outsourcing as a fixed, discrete event or a simple make-or-buy decision. In reality, outsourcing is an umbrella term that includes a range of sourcing options that are external to the firm. Understanding these options, their characteristic differences, and how they serve to meet differing business objectives is the focus of the current research. Based on in-depth interviews with 19 senior executives experienced in outsourcing, as well as a thorough synthesis of available research, this article provides a framework clarifying the broad spectrum of outsourcing arrangements, and their inherent risks and advantages. Managerial guidance related to outsourcing is also provided.