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Knowledge Sourcing in Geographical and Technological Spaces


Knowledge creation has become a key dimension of competition in the modern global economy. For organizations, the production of new knowledge is now considered to be a multidimensional process. Internally, it generally results from research and development or as a product of experience and learning through experimentation and repetition. The process does, however, transcend organizational boundaries as knowledge flows between firms through various forms of interactions with other organizations, including suppliers, buyers, competitors, collaborators, universities and other research institutions. As a result, knowledge creation lies at the intersection of internal processes and external interactions, and therefore in the ability for firms for effectively combining these different sources. Increasingly, the internal-external interface is multiplied as a growing number of organizations site establishments in different locations in order to access local knowledge pools that would otherwise be hardly accessible remotely. The resulting geography of knowledge sourcing in multi-locational firms remains, however, a relatively underdeveloped area of research. The broad questions I therefore address in this study are: 1) Where do the capabilities involved in technological production and diversification in multi-locational firms come from?: 2) Do multi-locational firms produce different technologies across their different locations? 3) Does multi-locational knowledge sourcing impact the value of innovative outputs?

I explore these questions by matching ownership and geographical data to patent records from the United States and Europe. Chapter 1 explores the influence of different sources of capabilities on technological diversification in the U.S., and chapter 3 addresses this topic covering Europe. Chapter 2 examines whether multi-locational firms produce distinct technologies across their different locations, and whether geographically distributed innovative activities impact the value of the knowledge produced. Chapter 4 concludes with an extension of this last study to the case of Europe.

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