Alliances and the innovation performance of corporate and public research spin-off firms

John Hagedoorn*, Boris Lokshin, Stéphane Malo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We explore the innovation performance benefits of alliances for spin-off firms, in particular spin-offs either from other firms or from public research organizations. During the early years of the emerging combinatorial chemistry industry, the industry on which our empirical analysis focuses, spin-offs engaged in alliances with large and established partners, partners of similar type and size, and with public research organizations, often for different reasons. We seek to understand to what extent alliances of spin-offs with other firms (either large- or small- and medium-sized firms) affected their innovation performance and also how this performance may have been affected by their corporate or public research background. We find evidence that in general alliances of spin-offs with other firms, in particular alliances with large firms, increased their innovation performance. Corporate spin-offs that formed alliances with other firms outperformed public research spin-offs with such alliances. This suggests that, in terms of their innovation performance, corporate spin-offs that engaged in alliances with other firms seemed to have benefitted from their prior corporate background. Interestingly, it turns out that the negative impact of alliances on the innovation performance of public research spin-offs was largely affected by their alliances with small- and medium-sized firms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-781
Number of pages19
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

JEL classifications

  • o32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
  • l26 - Entrepreneurship


  • alliances
  • entrepreneurial firms
  • innovation performance
  • spin-offs


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