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The Dynamic FirmThe Role of Technology, Strategy, Organization, and Regions$
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Alfred D. Chandler, Peter Hagstrom, and Örjan Sölvell

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198296041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198296045.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 June 2021

“Sticky Information” and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation *

“Sticky Information” and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation *

(p.60) 4 “Sticky Information” and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation*
The Dynamic Firm

Eric Von Hippel

Oxford University Press

The problem of ‘sticky’ information in the context of firms—the fact that information needed for technical problem solving tends to be costly to acquire, transfer, and put to use in a new location—is highlighted. When the requisite sticky information resides at only one location, problem solving tends to take place at that location. When more sites collectively serve as a repository of the demanded sticky information, problem solving is iterated between these sites or the problem will be broken down so as to simulate the first case. The final avenue is to make investments that reduce the stickiness, and thus the costs, of applying such information at other sites. The findings have significant implications for more general issues such as patterns in the diffusion of information, the specialization of firms and the locus of innovation.

Keywords:   companies, costs, diffusion of information, firms, innovation, location, problem solving, specialization, sticky information, technical problems, technology

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