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

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

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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