Research Summary: Firms implement digital technology for improving coordination and communication in cross-border R&D alliances. However, there is great ambivalence regarding how digitalization influences cross-border knowledge transfers. Our analysis clarifies some of this ambivalence by providing different configurations of absorptive capacity in cross-border R&D alliances. The fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) reveals only low absorptive capacity achievement in most configurations of digital technology implementation. The findings indicate effects of cognitive digitalization biases, under which firms take the benefits of digital technology for granted while ignoring deep-level challenges rooted in the contextuality of international ties. However, high absorptive capacity is achievable when (1) allying with bigger and younger partners, (2) under technological similarity, and (3) coping with the associated digitalization biases. Managerial Summary: Firms are eager to grasp the potential of digital technology. Within R&D alliances, digital technology is deemed to facilitate better coordination and communication. However, advantages from digital transformation are not always realized, as firms may overestimate the ease and usability of the underpinning technologies. We find that learning and understanding of partner knowledge is improved when R&D partnerships are forged between bigger and smaller partners, when partners feature technological similarities and both parties are similarly minded regarding technologies and do not take technology advantages for granted.
Bibliographische NotizPublisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Global Strategy Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Strategic Management Society.