Technology acquisition: sourcing technology from industry partners
This thesis describes the conditions that influence technology acquisition when an industry partner is involved. The objective of this thesis is to contribute to the knowledge regarding the conditions that affect effective acquisition of technology by collaboration by identifying and describing the relationship between the following variables: key activities and influential factors. The results are drawn from the analysis of eleven case studies involving experiences from different industries including chemicals, oil and gas and biofuels. The research adopts the perspective of an acquiring firm, which is interested in incorporating a new technology into its operations in order to meet a particular business need. Such a business need can be, for example, entering into a new market, meeting key customer requirements or improving operational efficiency. The results indicate that technology acquisition involving an industry partner can be described as a six-stage process where the acquiring firm may or may not get involved in the development of the technology concept. During the process a number of factors can influence the acquisition and implementation of the technology in the acquiring firm’s operations. These factors can be divided into six categories: business alignment, structural match, development management, technology uncertainty, implementation opportunity and contextual factors. The results also suggest that effective acquisition of technology by means of collaboration is achieved by the combination of three conditions: effective partnership management, effective execution of the co-development project and effective transference of the technology to the recipient system in the acquiring firm. The research provides relevant implications for theory and practice. On the one hand, technology acquisition by means of collaboration has been marginally addressed in technology management literature; extant literature has given more attention to organisational modes to acquire technology by collaboration rather than increasing our understanding of the dynamics of technology partnerships. On the other hand, the outcomes offer practitioners an account of the key factors and activities in technology acquisition projects involving an industry partner. These insights are key to systematically managing collaborative projects aimed at acquiring new technologies.