Title: Strategic alliances between large and small high-tech firms. (The small firm licensing option)

Authors: John W. Lang

Addresses: The Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1AG, UK

Abstract: In this paper, I have used the material gathered from the interviews with directors of the three companies studied, to attempt to understand why they have been successful in their respective licensing agreements. Specifically, I examine three related questions: why licensing may be a beneficial form of partnering for the small firm to take?; how the small firm may protect itself in the agreements?; and the importance of the boundary spanning role and micro-bargaining situations struck at the firm boundaries. Clearly, any |results| and/or conclusions are tentative and point to the need for further work in this area. This paper does attempt to address a relatively overlooked area of research and study, that of small/large firm alliances using licensing as the preferred mode of partnering. The majority of the literature published to date in this area subsume licensing as a governance structure under the wider umbrella of strategic alliances. In addition, research in these topics tends to lean towards the large firm as licensor. In this paper, the reader will see this reversed, i.e. small firm as licensor. The research was conducted via in-depth interviews with various personnel of the companies involved and took a grounded theory approach in exploring and gathering the data. This methodology was adopted due to the lack of existing research in this topic and therefore the need to generate new data.

Keywords: strategic alliances; technology licensing; SMEs; technology transfer; small and medium-sized enterprises; high-tech firms; high technology; small firms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025517

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.7/8, pp.796 - 807

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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