Learning from openness: the dynamics of breadth in external innovation linkages

James H. Love*, Stephen Roper, Priit Vahter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore how openness in terms of external linkages generates learning effects, which enable firms to generate more innovation outputs from any given breadth of external linkages. Openness to external knowledge sources, whether through search activity or linkages to external partners in new product development, involves a process of interaction and information processing. Such activities are likely to be subject to a learning process, as firms learn which knowledge sources and collaborative linkages are most useful to their particular needs, and which partnerships are most effective in delivering innovation performance. Using panel data from Irish manufacturing plants, we find evidence of such learning effects: establishments with substantial experience of external collaborations in previous periods derive more innovation output from openness in the current period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1703-1716
Number of pages14
JournalStrategic management journal
Issue number11
Early online date29 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funding: ESRC (award RES-062-23-2767).

Additional supporting information may be found in the online version of this article.


  • innovation linkages
  • Ireland
  • learning effects
  • open innovation
  • openness


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