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Technology sourcing acquisitions: What they mean for innovation potential

Karen Ruckman (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 20 February 2009




The purpose of this paper is to determine what the effects of acquisition are on R&D patterns.


This paper tests whether the actual post‐acquisition R&D intensity of the combined firm deviated from the predicted R&D intensity, where the predicted amount is an asset‐weighted average of pre‐acquisition values.


The results indicate that the combination of technology sourcing and technological relatedness have strong predictive powers for determining changes in post‐acquisition R&D intensity. Technology sourcing acquisition of unrelated technologies results in an increase in post‐acquisition R&D intensity, as predicted. Acquirers in this situation may be using their acquisition as a platform for research expansion.

Research limitations/implications

The dataset used in this paper was restricted to public acquirers and targets for completeness of financial information. It would be useful to determine the extent to which a technology sourcing acquirer is predicted to enter into an acquisition and also whether technology sourcing can be used as a predictor for the ultimate target company out of a pool of potential targets.

Practical implications

The results can be used to inform managers on a strategic level when research strategy deviates from what the theory would predict. For example, if a company that did a technology sourcing acquisition of an unrelated product subsequently decreased R&D intensity, then rival pharmaceutical firms can ascertain that the acquired research was ultimately determined to be too risky or unviable.


The value in this paper is the unique measurement for technology sourcing.



Ruckman, K. (2009), "Technology sourcing acquisitions: What they mean for innovation potential", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 56-75.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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