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Dynamic capabilities growth and long-term competitiveness of European firms - a diagnosis and the implications for eU policies


The purpose of this project is to develop and improve some novel and useful conceptual tools and their policy implications for guiding the search and exploitation of technological, production and marketing competencies within and across business firms. More preciseluy, our project is meant to examine:
(i) Corporate policies designed and implemented by business organizations located in Europe, particularly the processes by which they define their technological and competitive space, the processes by which corporate organisations explore and exploit new opportunities of innovation and diversification - regarding not only new technologies, but also forms of coordination, production, marketing strategies;

(ii) The influence of organisational structures (that is corporate governance structures) adopted by firms located in Europe upon these patterns of search and their effectiveness. Our project will investigate the mutual interactions between corporate governance structures (e.g. the set of incentive mechanisms adopted in a functional or a multi-divisional structure), the organisation of RTD and production activities, particularly at the international level, and technological development and sustainable competitive advantage;

(iii) The organisation of interfirms relationships (e.g. collaborative agreements, minority participations and M&As). In this respect, our project aims to analyse various types of linkages among local large firms (including multinational corporations) and and small firms as a source of technological and organisational learning. It is important to assess the significance of knowledge and learning produced by networks of firms, especially those promoted by the EU;

(iv) the comparative importance of technological spillovers accruing to SMEs from extra-European multinational firms and from large European firms in various regions and industries. These spillovers may be captured through formal inter-firm linkages (including those mentioned above) and other channels (e.g. informal, personal know-how exchanges and acquisition of human capital).

Policy-makers should be aware of the sources which affect the ability of European firms to accumulate competencies, to grow and to diversify their business in comparison with extra-European firms. A deep undertanding of the nature of this process may help national and EU policy makers to:
(i) Analyse and understand the discrepancy between RTD efforts and economic performance, typical of the European firms, and highlight the weak stages of the RTD process (including the commercialisation of innovations) at the firm level;

(ii) Analyse and understand the complex set of links between the process of accumulation of firm capabilities and the economic, institutional environment where they are generated;

(iii) Develop actions to overcome the bottlenecks in the RTD process at the level of European firms and reduce the mis-match among different stages of this process;

(iv) Take decisions in the field of competition and economic efficiency in the European integrated markets, by considering the importance of non-price, dynamic competition for the sustainable growth of the European economy.

A related objective of this research project is to develop and compare different measures of corporate compencies and learning. This is important for strategic managers (e.g. benchmarking) and for public policy makers.


Universit degli Studi di Roma 'La Sapienza'
Via Nomentana 41
161 Roma

Participants (6)

Centre de Recherche en Economie Industrielle Internationale
13,Rue Des Baigneurs 13
75018 Paris
Libero Istituto Universitario Carlo Cattaneo
Corso Matteotti 22
21053 Castellanza Varese
United Kingdom
RG6 6AA Reading / Silchester
United Kingdom
Mantell Building
BN1 9RF Falmer - Brighton
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
126,Calle Madrid
28903 Madrid
Università degli Studi di Urbino
Via Santa Chiara 1
61029 Urbino