The Value of Entrepreneurial Orientation and Social Capital for Enhancing Collective Performance in R&D Collaborations of Korean Ventures

벤처기업의 R&D협력에서 사회적 자본과 기업가적 지향성이 협력성과에 미치는 영향

  • Seo, Ribin (Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester)
  • Received : 2016.08.05
  • Accepted : 2017.03.09
  • Published : 2017.03.31


In the last decades, technology-oriented small firms, i.e. venture businesses, have been increasingly engaged in R&D collaborations with external parties as strategic means for technological innovation. Despite ample evidence on the benefit of such collaborations for the firms, there has been less attention to examining whether and how the firms' social interactions with cooperating partners and their managerial characteristics contribute to that benefit. Drawing on the theories of social capital and entrepreneurial orientation, this study is to remedy this gap. The theory of social capital, referring to a sum of the value and potential resources embedded in social relationships of collectives, provides an integrated view of social factors among cooperating partners, e.g. strong ties, network stability, trust, reciprocity, shared vision and value. It categorizes these factors into structural, relational, and cognitive dimensions of social capital. Entrepreneurial orientation theory captures firms' managerial characteristics as a combination of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking. This addresses firms' managerial process to utilize and combine internal and external resources for wealth creation and opportunity realization. Against this background, this study investigates what roles social capital among cooperating R&D partners and entrepreneurial orientation of the collaborating firms play for collective performance improvement in R&D collaborations. In terms of the collective performance, this study adopts two indicators: technological competitiveness and business performance. Technological competitiveness refers to the contribution of a technology developed by a cooperative R&D project to competitive advantage of a firm while business performance is defined as the financial and economic outcome of a collaboration. Using a sample of 218 Korean ventures engaging in R&D collaboration with external parties, the author finds the significant effects of social capital (i.e. structural, relational, and cognitive dimensions) and entrepreneurial orientation (i.e. innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking) on both of the technological competitiveness and the business performance. Further, the higher the social capital among R&D partners, the more likely it is to foster the entrepreneurial orientation at firm-level. Most importantly, the entrepreneurial orientation at firm-level is an significant mediator of the relationship between social capital and collective performance. Beyond these novel empirical findings, this study contributes to the literature on R&D collaboration. The findings' implications for management and policy are deeply discussed in the conclusion.


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