Drivers of innovation and eco-innovationthe role of mergers and acquisitions and open innovation strategies

  1. Sara Fernández López
Dirixida por:
  1. Ángela Triguero Cano Director

Universidade de defensa: Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

Ano de defensa: 2018

  1. Jose García Quevedo Presidente/a
  2. Mª Carmen Cuerva Narro Secretario/a
  3. Thuc Uyen Nguyen-Thi Vogal

Tipo: Tese


In an increasingly globalized world, the international expansion of trade, the growth in the number of operations between companies from different countries, the integration of financial markets and the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have led to an increase in market competitiveness. This context has prompted the use of innovation strategies in order to reduce production costs, become more efficient, increase sales growth or facilitate entry into new markets. Specifically, this work focuses on two strategies that firms can carry out to improve their innovation performance: mergers and acquisitions, and open innovation strategies. First in Chapter 3, the study analyses the effects of mergers and acquisitions on R&D intensity and profit in large European firms using a unique micro-longitudinal database of top European R&D investors and information from the 562 mergers and acquisitions approved by the EC Merger Control Authority over the period 2004-2012. This empirical evidence shows that mergers positively influence the R&D intensity and profitability of top companies in the European Union. The second strategy analysed is open innovation, which has attracted the attention of both researchers and government institutions since the seminal work by Chesbrough (2003). It refers to a strategy of innovation in which firms draw on research and development that may lie inside the firm or outside their own boundaries (inbound/outbound), generating collaborative networks of knowledge that involve different partners: government, industry, academics and citizens. Thus, the influence of open innovation practices on innovation performance and on environmental innovation is analysed. First, in Chapter 4, two facets of open innovation are studied: external knowledge sources (intentional) and knowledge spillovers (unintentional). While collaboration with universities, providers and external R&D advisers positively affects innovation, collaboration with customers and competitors is not significant. In addition, a positive influence of a variety of external knowledge sources on both types of innovation is found. Regarding the results on the other facet of open innovation, the positive effect of involuntary knowledge spillovers on product innovation and technological similarity is confirmed. In light of the growing environmental awareness, the influence of open innovation on environmental innovation performance is studied in Chapter 5. The main purpose is to analyse the influence of open innovation strategies on the adoption of three different types of eco-innovation (material efficiency, energy efficiency, and environment responsiveness) in agro-food firms, taking into account the type of innovation (product vs. process) and degree of novelty (radical vs. incremental). In this case, the analysis is performed for the Spanish Food and Beverage manufacturing industry over the period 2008-2014. The main results show that the breadth of external knowledge sources positively influences process, product and incremental eco-innovations related to a more efficient use of materials and energy. Therefore, this thesis concludes that both strategies (mergers and acquisitions and open innovation) could help firms to improve their innovation performance, taking into account the sector and the competitiveness context in which they operate. On the one hand, mergers and acquisitions increase R&D intensity and profitability for large European firms, but the positive effect of mergers and acquisitions on profitability does not occur instantaneously. On the other hand, the use of some open innovation strategies (collaboration with universities, providers and R&D advisors) positively influences product and process innovation in Spanish manufacturing firms, but the influence of technological similarity and geographical proximity must be taken into account. Finally, the use of open innovation practices also positively influences the probability of adopting process, product and incremental eco-innovations in a typically low-tech, traditional Food and Beverage sector in Spain.