Searching for externally available knowledge has been characterised as a vital part of the innovation process. Previous research has, however, almost exclusively focused on high-technology environments, largely ignoring the substantial low- and medium-technology sectors of modern economies. We argue that firms from low- and high-technology sectors differ in their search patterns and that these mediate the relationship between innovation inputs and outputs. Based on a sample of 4500 firms from 13 European countries, we find that search patterns in low-technology industries focus on market knowledge and that they differ from technology sourcing activities in high-technology industries.
Grimpe, Christoph and Wolfgang Sofka (2009), Search Patterns and Absorptive Capacity: Low- and High-Technology Sectors in European Countries, Research Policy 38 (3), 495–506.