The dual role of external corporate venturing in technological exploration

Ying Li*, Vareska Van De Vrande, Wim Vanhaverbeke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Exploration of new technologies has received great attention in the innovation management literature and the role of external innovation partners has been investigated in this context. We focus in this study on two types of exploration, i.e., exploration from partners (EFP) and exploration beyond partners (EBP), to distinguish a dual role of a firm's innovation external corporate venturing partnerships. Both types of exploration refer to learning from external knowledge sources, but in a different way. On the one hand, a firm can overcome local search by exploring new technologies building on its partners' capabilities and technological strengths. On the other hand, a firm can further explore new technologies from other companies with which the focal innovating firm has had no prior external corporate venturing partnerships before (non-partner firms). In the latter case, although the external corporate venturing partnership does not govern the relationships between the focal firm and other companies, it may still impose influences on the exploratory learning of the focal firm from the non-partner firms. This dual role of external corporate venturing partnerships with regard to exploration deserves more attention because the extent literature has overlooked the second indirect role of external corporate venturing partnerships. Our findings show that external corporate venturing partnerships may enhance EFP and EBP. Furthermore, the significance of the influences of external corporate venturing partnerships on EFP and EBP is different, depending on the governance modes of the partnerships. We also found technological distance between the focal innovating firm and its external venturing partners has very different influences on EFP and EBP.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event69th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2009 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: 7 Aug 200911 Aug 2009


Conference69th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


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