The aim of this article is to examine conceptually and empirically how innovative firms combine knowledge (1) provided by different sources, (2) accessed at different spatial scales and (3) acquired through different channels. We add to the conceptual debate by contrasting and synthesising the perspectives offered on these issues by four key concepts, namely the local buzz and global pipelines argument, the knowledge-base approach, the notions of Science-Technology-Innovation and Doing-Using-Interacting modes of innovation as well as the regional innovation systems concept. The empirical part of the article contains an analysis of knowledge-sourcing activities employed by 181 firms belonging to the Austrian automotive supplier industry. Our findings reveal that it is, indeed, combinations of knowledge sourced from different partners located at different spatial scales and acquired through different channels that are relevant. However, it is particular combinations that dominate while others are negligible. Austrian automotive supplier firms combine knowledge provided by customers with knowledge inputs from a variety of other sources. Most of the combinations involve the European or global levels combined with the regional and/or national level. Finally, firms combine spillovers with a variety of other channels to acquire innovation-relevant knowledge.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary