Coopetition and innovation. Lessons from worker cooperatives in the Spanish machine tool industry
Charterina Abando, Jon
Landeta Rodríguez, Jon
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Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing : (2019)
[EN] Purpose – This paper aims to investigate how the implementation of the inter-cooperation principle among Spanish machine-tool cooperatives helps them to coopete–collaborate with competitors, in their innovation and internationalization processes and achieve collaborative advantages. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a multi-case approach based on interviews with 15 CEOs and research and development (R&D) managers, representing 14 Spanish machine tool firms and institutions. Eight of these organizations are worker-cooperatives.. Findings – Worker -cooperatives achieve advantages on innovation and internationalization via inter-cooperation (shared R&D units, joint sales offices, joint after-sale services, knowledge exchange and relocation of key R&D technicians and managers). Several mutual bonds and ties among cooperatives help to overcome the risk of opportunistic behaviour and knowledge leakage associated to coopetition. The obtained results give some clues explaining to what extent and under which conditions coopetitive strategies of cooperatives are transferable to other types of ownership arrangements across sectors. Practical implications – Firms seeking cooperation with competitors in their R&D and internationalization processes can learn from the coopetitive arrangements analyzed in the paper. Social implications – Findings can be valuable for sectoral associations and public bodies trying to promote coopetition and alliances between competitors as a means to benefit from collaborative advantages. Originality/value – Focusing on an “ideal type” of co-operation -cooperative organisationsand having access to primary sources, the paper shows to what extent (and how) strong coopetitive structures and processes foster innovation and internationalization.