The Effect of Knowledge Accumulation Strategies on Firm Growth: experience vs. Experimentation
Previous studies have shown that the difference in the degree of knowledge accumulation among firms is due to the quantitative difference in innovation activities.It has simplified the process of accumulating knowledge of firms, and there is insufficient consideration of inter-firm heterogeneity. In this study, Experience and Experimentation are considered as key strategies of knowledge accumulation in terms of quantitative aspect. Experience is considered as direction of knowledge accumulation. It means how to composite knowledge in the firm, such as various or specific knowledge domains. Experimentation is considered as method of knowledgeaccumulation. It indicates how different learning strategies can be used to accumulate knowledge, such as repetitive or novel ways of learning.Even with the same quantitative efforts, there are differences in the degree of knowledge accumulation depending on experience and experimentation. This study aims toidentify the effect of knowledge accumulation strategies through experience and experimentation on firm growth. We construct a unique panel dataset merging financial and patent information for Korean manufacturing firms. The results show the importance of persistence experience in a specific knowledge domain as a direction of knowledge accumulation. However, the method of knowledge accumulation should change according to the depth of experience.Repetitive learning (i.e. no experimentation) are needed when the depth of experience is low. Novel way of learning (i.e. experimentation) are needed when the depth of experience is high.Our findingssuggest why competitive advantage between firms differs even if they make the same quantitative efforts by considering the qualitative aspect of knowledge accumulation strategies.Effective knowledge accumulation strategies and policy implications for sustainable growth can be suggested.
Keywords - Knowledge Accumulation; Innovation Strategy; Persistence; Firm Growth; Patent Analysis