Asia Pacific Journal of Management

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 165–193 | Cite as

Inter-firm collaboration in new product development in Chinese pharmaceutical companies

  • Xiaoqing Li
  • Yu Zheng
  • Catherine L. Wang


High-tech firms increasingly rely on inter-firm collaboration (IFC) in new product development (NPD). While there is a growing research interest in exploring the economic rationale of IFC through the transaction cost economics (TCE) and the resource synergy of IFC through the resource-based view of the firm (RBV), little attention has been given to the institution-based view (IBV) that also has important implications for firms’ choice of IFC. In particular, how national institutional environment affects IFC in the NPD process remains under-researched. This study aims to contribute to the literature by extending our understanding of the role of IFC in firms’ NPD process, taking into account transactional, resource, and institutional factors. Based on a case study of two firms: a state-owned and a private pharmaceutical firm in China, our research identifies three key forms of IFC, which are dynamic at different stages of NPD and contingent upon an array of institutional, resource, and transactional rationales underpinning firms’ choice of different forms of IFC. Our study is the first one that investigates the role of IFC in the NPD process bringing together the IBV, RBV, and TCE perspectives.


Inter-firm collaboration New product development Chinese pharmaceutical companies Resource-based view Institution-based view Transaction cost economies 



This paper is based on a research project supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK (Award No.: RES-061-25-0023).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lecturer in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Brunel Business SchoolBrunel University LondonUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.Lecturer in Asian Business and International Human Resource Management, School of Management, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonEghamUK
  3. 3.School of Management, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonEghamUK

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