Recent literature suggests that knowledge, capabilities and products coevolve to create value. In this thesis, I present a series of five core papers that attempt to extend that key insight by focusing on how knowledge is exploited for value in interorganizational new product development. Examining the relationship between knowledge-based resources, capabilities, products and value creation in interorganizational new product development is important as many economies realize the potential benefits from, and develop strategies for, the commercialization of scientific innovation. Furthermore, opportunity exists for more empirically-grounded theory to assist researchers, managers and other stakeholders grappling with the theoretical and practical challenges involved in the interorganizational commercialization of innovation.
The theory developed in the thesis makes three main contributions. First, using a longitudinal case study of
biopharmaceutical new product development, I argue that knowledge, capabilities and products coevolve through a coordinated set of actions, which I call a knowledge exploitation capability. Based on a review of alliance, innovation and interorganizational new product development literatures in core paper 1, I develop the idea that knowledge exploitation capabilities need to emerge at the level of the interfirm system if value is to be created from a final product (core papers 2 through 4). Final product value is created by the coordinated cospecialization of the knowledge exploitation efforts of single firms that come together across product development milestones. This interfirm coordination and cospecialization of knowledge exploitation leads to a whole that is greater than the sum of individual firm knowledge exploitation efforts. The implication is that both firm and public policy strategies aimed at conunercializing new products from collaborative R&D would create
maximum benefit when shaped in accordance with the required form and function of an interfirm system The second major contribution of the thesis aims to elaborate on how such shaping can occur by using multilevel linkage analysis (Goodman, 2000; Goodman and Rousseau, 2004) and real options valuation (Bowman and Hurry, 1993; Dixit and Pindyck, 1994; Folta, 1998; Folta and O'Brien, 2004; McGrath, 1997; McGrath, Ferrier and Mendelow, 2004; Micalizzi, 1999) to expound how the activities and outcomes at firm levels can influence activities and outcomes at the level of the interfirm system.
Third, the major empirical effort of the thesis uses both Cohen and Levinthal's (1990) and Zahra and George's (2002) absorptive capacity conceptualizations to help explain the processes underpinning the creation of value from the exploitation of new knowledge and knowing (core paper 5). Using longitudinal processual case study analysis of value creation in the interorganizational
development of a groundbreaking anti-influenza drug, I found, contrary to Cohen and Levinthal (1990) and Zahra and George (2002) that exploitation is not a discrete process, separate from, nor occurring as a consequence of, first acquiring, assimilating and transforming new knowledge. I develop a revised exploitation model that builds upon prior research to provide a better account of how actors create value from the exploitation of new knowledge and knowing. The revised model will be useful for management researchers, managers, scientists and public policy makers to help understand some of the key individual, group and firm-level competencies for creating value from the exploitation of knowledge.