Learning from what others have learned from you: The effects of knowledge spillovers on originating firms

H. Yang, C. C. PHELPS, K. Steensma

Academy of Management Journal

April 2010, vol. 53, n°2, pp.371-389

Departments: Strategy & Business Policy

Although research suggests knowledge spillovers often benefit imitators at the expense of originators, we investigate how originating firms may also benefit from their own spillovers. When an originating firm's spillovers are recombined with complementary knowledge by recipient firms, a spillover knowledge pool is formed, containing opportunities for the originator to learn vicariously from recipients. In a longitudinal study of 87 telecommunications manufacturers, we found that a firm's rate of innovation and the extent to which these innovations integrate knowledge from the spillover knowledge pool is greater when this pool is larger in size and similar to the firm's knowledge base