Technological cooperation activities (TCA) have been considered as an effective means for growth since no firms can acquire all resources needed in the process of production of goods. For small and medium-sized firms that suffer from relative lack of financial and technological resources compared to large firms, technological cooperation is an inevitable option for survival.
This study contains two major parts. One is to examine changing patterns of TCA along technological development stages. The other is to explore the influencing factors of TCA and impacts of TCA on firm's performance.
Based on the review of related literature and questionnaire survey of longitudinal sample of 63 small and medium-sized companies in the telecommunication equipment and device sector, proposed hypotheses are tested by using paired comparison t-test, ANOVA and multiple regression analysis.
In the dynamic view, the findings show that the major motives, extent and diversity of TCA use vary according to technological development stages: Along technological development stages, (1) the importance of 'access to scientific knowledge' increases more rapidly than that of 'access to new market' and 'enhancing R&D efficiencies', (2) the extent and diversity of TCA use increase and (3) TCAs with horizontally-related institutes, such as government-supported research institutes and universities, contribute more heavily to the firm's technological performances than TCAs with other partners.
In the static view, (1) level of entrepreneurship, environment (such as market competition and technological change) and firm's resource affect the extent and diversity of TCA, and (2) the extent and diversity of TCA are related to firm's technological and learning performance.
In addition, this study examines how external market environment and internal technological competencies affect the relationship between the use of technological alliances and a firms technological performance. Major findings are as follows: (1) the severer the market competition and technological change, the stronger the impact of TCA on firms technological performance. (2) the better structured the technological learning system related to TCA and the higher the level of technology used in the firm, the stronger the impact of TCA on firms technological performance.
In conclusion, this study explores diverse influencing factors of TCA use including technological development stage, level of entrepreneurship, environment and firm's resource. It also suggests some ideas that when technological alliances are more effective in terms of impacts on performance, and how we can make use of technological alliance to enhance firms competitiveness. In addition, some managerial implications are presented and future research directions are suggested.