Technology Acquisition through Collaboration

Research objective


Acquiring technology by collaboration brings advantages in relation to pure internal development or purchase from external developers. Industry partners may provide support to identify and select the right technologies, to estimate development costs and to deploy new technologies amongst other advantages. However, involving an industry partner in the technology acquisition process can be risky, particularly when firms work with a particular partner for the first time or possess limited prior experience in technology alliances.


Involving industry partners adds complexity to decision-making and development activities in technology acquisition projects. For example, the firm and its partner should agree on how costs and benefits of the outcomes will be shared; cultural differences might reduce the quality of coordination and communication; and the acquisition project may not be considered successful if the outcomes are not deployed. Therefore, managing technology acquisition by collaboration is not an easy task, in particular when the key activities and factors that affect the outcomes are not clear.


This research explored the conditions that influence technology acquisition when an industry partner is involved. The objective of this research was 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.


A summary of results and implications for practice can be found here.


Related publications


Ortiz-Gallardo, V.G., Probert, D. & Phaal, R., 2013. Technology acquisition by collaboration: a conceptual framework. In D. Cetindamar et al., eds. Strategic Planning Decisions in the High Tech Industry. London: Springer-Verlag, pp. 143–158.


Ortiz-Gallardo, V. G.; Probert, D; Phaal, R; ‘New product co-development: acquiring and implementing new technologies’, 19th International product development management conference, University of Manchester, June 18-19 2012, Manchester, UK.


Ortiz-Gallardo, V. G.; Probert, D; Phaal, R; ‘Technology acquisition in collaboration: does familiarity with the final product matter?’, R&D management Conference 2011, Linköping University, Sweden.


Ortiz-Gallardo, V. G.; Probert, D; Phaal, R; Mitchell, R., ‘Technology partner selection: challenges and key management issues’, R&D management Conference 2010, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.



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