The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 696–714 | Cite as

Conditionally-mediated effects of scale in collaborative R&D



This paper reports the results of an empirical investigation into the role of project scale, as reflected in consortium size, on the impacts obtained by partners participating in publicly-funded collaborative R&D projects. I argue in this study that scale may affect performance indirectly rather than directly. Specifically, I model the influence of scale as being mediated by a set of intervening variables that may be said to “transmit” both positive and negative effects through (i) complementarity of resources, (ii) learning, and (iii) transaction costs in project implementation. Moreover, I hypothesize that these indirect effects are conditional on certain moderators that include resources committed, project management mechanisms, and project uncertainty and scope. The results offered in this study largely confirm the proposition of conditionally-mediated effects of scale on performance. They indicate that a number of conditional indirect effects are indeed significant, and surprisingly, that these effects are mostly negative.


Collaborative R&D Economies of scale R&D performance Moderated mediation 

JEL classification

O30 O31 O32 O38 



This paper is based on research work carried out in the context of the Seventh Framework Programme for RTD (FP7), under the topic of “Scale and Scope as Drivers of the European Research Area”. I would like to thank Nick Vonortas, Henri Delange, Robbert Fisher, Wolfgang Polt and Babis Ipektsidis for their contribution in early stages of this research. I also thank Yannis Caloghirou, Charles Edquist and Georg Licht for their comments. Finally, I am grateful to the editor, Professor A. Link and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management Science and TechnologyAthens University of Economics and BusinessAthensGreece

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