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How family firms execute open innovation strategies: the Loccioni case

Elena Casprini (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy)
Alfredo De Massis (Free University of Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy and Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK)
Alberto Di Minin (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy)
Federico Frattini (Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Andrea Piccaluga (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 9 October 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to shed light on how family firms execute open innovation strategies by managing internal and external knowledge flows.

Design/methodology/approach

First, through a comprehensive literature review, the paper identifies the barriers to the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in open innovation processes. Second, it presents and discusses the results of an exploratory case study on Loccioni, an Italian family firm providing high-tech measurement solutions, highlighting how this family firm managed to overcome the barriers in executing an open innovation strategy.

Findings

The case study shows that Loccioni faced specific challenges in acquiring and transferring knowledge in its open innovation processes and developed two idiosyncratic capabilities – labelled imprinting and fraternization – that helped the firm overcome the barriers to knowledge acquisition and transfer. The analysis shows that these two capabilities are enabled by the distinctive goals and social capital characterizing family firms.

Originality/value

The paper creates a link between open innovation and family business research with an empirically grounded model illustrating how the idiosyncratic capabilities of a family firm help overcome the critical barriers to the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in executing an open innovation strategy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “knowledge management practices and strategies for open innovation”.

Citation

Casprini, E., De Massis, A., Di Minin, A., Frattini, F. and Piccaluga, A. (2017), "How family firms execute open innovation strategies: the Loccioni case", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 1459-1485. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-11-2016-0515

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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