Effects of R&D internationalisation on R&D investment of firms in South Africa

Mashamba, Mulima Godfrey
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Using a multiple case study approach of three R&D performing firms in South Africa, this research explored whether current R&D internationalisation trends are having a positive or negative effect on South Africa’s investments in research and development (R&D). The research found that, contrary to theoretical proposition, the three firms have not relocated core parts or their entire R&D to technologically advanced countries abroad as a result of their increased international exposure. Instead, they have broadened their scope of R&D to integrate foreign-based knowledge inputs. The research also found that increased internationalisation causes firms to alter their approaches to R&D exploitation through incremental improvements on- and/or finding new applications ofexisting technologies and creating new markets for them. Three motives influenced the firms, namely to access new knowledge not available locally, to access human capital and to exploit existing capabilities in new markets. Where firms reduced their local R&D investment, such activities were not being relocated to abroad. Increased competition fostered firms’ R&D efficiency. Firms reviewed their internal structures to maximise intellectual property (IP) value; they adopted stricter methods for evaluating new R&D requirements; and they afforded higher priority to R&D with better potential for success. Most of this is meant to exploit existing knowledge. The findings are applicable to Emerging Economy Multinational Enterprises (EMNEs) that already have well-established R&D capability at home and experience operating in the international R&D environment.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Commerce (Development Theory and Policy) 15 April 2016
Mashamba, Mulima Godfrey (2016) Effects of R&D internationalisation on R&D investment of firms in South Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/22368>