Acquiring external knowledge for innovative capability in manufacturing industry

[German title: Erwerb von externem Wissen für innovative Leistungsfähigkeit in der Fertigungsindustrie]

Title: Absorptive capacity in European manufacturing: a Delphi study 
Author(s): Petra Jung-Erceg, Krsto Pandza, Heidi Armbruster, Carsten Dreher 
Journal: Industrial Management & Data Systems 
ISSN: 0263-5577 
Year: 2007 Volume: 107 Issue: 1 Page: 37 – 51 
DOI: 10.1108/02635570710719043 
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

Abstract: Purpose – This paper sets out to discuss the results of a specific part of a Europe-wide Delphi study that considers issues of absorptive capacity in European manufacturing. Owing to the importance to competitiveness of increasing innovative capabilities in manufacturing it is highly relevant to explore how a wide community of manufacturing experts experience the phenomenon of absorptive capacity and sense future developments.
Design/methodology/approach – A two round Delphi method was designed in which more than 3,000 experts from 22 European countries assessed 101 statements. This paper discusses eight statements focused on the issue of absorptive capacity.
Findings – The results show a general consensus about the influence of different inter-firm relationships in acquiring external knowledge and a diversified knowledge structure for assimilating the acquired knowledge. The study also indicates some potential challenges and contradictions in managing inter-firm relationships and knowledge diversity as well as perceived barriers for future developments of absorptive capacity.
Research limitations/implications – Delphi survey is an empirical method subject to the limitation of testing or inductively building theoretical concepts.
Practical implications – The results of the Delphi study are predominantly centred on policy implication and on informing strategic decision-making at manufacturing firms.
Originality/value – This paper discusses one of the biggest Delphi surveys ever conducted in Europe. Its comprehensiveness increases the value of the results. 

Keywords: Delphi method, Europe, Knowledge capture, Manufacturing industries 

Article Type: Research paper 

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