, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 119-130
Date: 11 Feb 2014

Relationship-specific investment, value creation, and value appropriation in cooperative innovation

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The rapid development of information technology (IT) makes it possible for different organizations to ally with each other for cooperative innovation. In this paper, two critical issues involved in enterprise cooperation are addressed: (1) how organization value is added via cooperative business and how the profit from the cooperation is appropriated among the cooperators; and (2) how the cooperative innovation can be implemented effectively. The resource-based view is combined with the transaction cost theory, the equity theory, and the risk-return theory to analyze the influence of the relationship-specific investment (RSI) on the value creation and appropriation in cooperation. Based on our theoretical analysis, a number of hypotheses are made to measure the influence and these hypotheses are tested using empirical data collected from 187 high-tech enterprises in the Northeast region of China. The verification has shown that RSI allows information sharing among collaborators for effective coordination and thus improves the performance of cooperative innovation. RSI positively affects the value appropriation based on investors’ contributions and the risk level involved in the cooperation. RSI increases the value appropriation through the performance promotion effect in cooperation. Minor adverse impact is identified on investor’s dependence. In addition, value creation positively affects value appropriation. The drawn conclusion is significant for developing cooperative innovations under the circumstance in which IT is widely applied to enterprises’ business environment.