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Software Innovativeness - Knowledge Acquisition, External Linkages and Firm Developmental Processes



This report covers an empirical research project focused on studying the knowledge acquisition, external linkages and developmental processes in software firms. A large database was been created through 133 interviews that were carried out in cooperation with managers in software firms in 19 countries that were contacted by students taking master’s level courses in Sweden. The main 94 interviews followed a structured protocol that contained tables that required Likert scale ratings for a number of actors/sources and measures of innovativeness and various firm developmental outcomes including knowledge accumulation. The protocol was directed at providing answers for various aspects of the general research question: What is the relationship of the level of innovativeness of the products created to the types of development processes employed, external knowledge sources, and the developmental effects flowing from s/w projects? In the overall product creation process customers were found to be the most important external linkage for the low and medium innovativeness categories. In the high category customers shared the first level of importance with both affiliates and other research institutes. The second and third levels of importance were shared by groups of actor/source that varied with the innovativeness level. When the data were examined according to phases in the creation process the importance of various external linkages that were used fell into several levels depending on the product innovativeness. Most of the business development effects investigated for of the projects were found to be greater for the high innovativeness category than for the low category. This included the knowledge accumulation in the creation processes. Large-sized firms did not show an advantage over smaller ones when it came to producing high innovativeness products nor did the larger firms consistently use more complex software creation processes than did the smaller firms.

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