“Cooperative Capabilities” of Small Businesses in the Joint Technical Development between Large Firms
To ensure that joint technical development with large firms goes smoothly, small businesses need to have specific abilities. In this paper, those special abilities are referred to as “cooperative capabilities”. Cooperative capabilities should be needed by small businesses when they start to cooperate with large firms for joint technical development. The goal of this research is to clarify the factors which constitute small businesses’ “cooperative capabilities”.
In Osaka, Japan, there is a technical business matching meeting in order to promote joint technical development between large firms and small businesses in environmental and energy projects. We chose this forum as a case to analyse in our research. We divided forum member firms into two groups. One group is composed of small businesses which were able to have technical meetings(TM) with large firms. We call this group the “TM group”. The other group is composed of small businesses which did not have technical meetings with large firms. We call this group “No-TM group”. Small businesses which succeeded in having a first TM with large firms were identified as firms with high potential for continuous technical cooperation with large firms. By identifying the differences between the two groups, we can recognize the factors contributing to “cooperative capabilities” which exist only in TM group. For the purpose of this study, we distributed questionnaire to them and also conducted interviews. Finally, we concluded that core elements of cooperative capabilities in small businesses are outstanding technologies which do not exist in large firms and specific ability to make value-added proposal to large firms to solve not only present but also potential problems.