Recent studies of US industrial modernisation programmes argue that difficulties of establishing long-term relationships with users prevent them from facilitating development of innovation capabilities. The paper supports this argument through a survey of Japanese research institutes the US programmes were modelled on. In view of information asymmetries in their use, it tests the hypothesis that small and medium-sized firms start using the research institutes with ‘low information gap’ services and gradually move on to ‘high information gap’ services that often require more absorptive capacity. This is demonstrated both under one-to-one relationships and between groups of firms and a research institute.
- industrial modernisation programmes
- small and medium-sized firms
- research institutes
- organisational learning
- relational assets