ITC and the Economy of Proximity: R&D Organization and Location by Global Corporations

By Bernadette Madeuf, Denis Carre, Gilliane Lefebvre, Christian Milelli

English

The core hypothesis of this paper is that ITC’s influence on choices of location for R&D activities is only secondary. So far, ICT’s impact has been considered mainly in terms of a trade-off between geographical and organizational proximity. This article proposes to add a third dimension: cognitive proximity. ICT’s influence must be analyzed along these three dimensions. ICTs are modifying from the inside the operational conditions of R&D activities by affecting the parameters of cognitive proximity. Therefore, their impact on the location and organization of R&D depends on each industry and on types of research activities. Furthermore, ICTs are playing a central role in raising the efficiency of the innovation process by affecting quality, costs, and the length of the research processes, particularly in the case of extended research centers.

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