Unveiling the Incidence of Interfirm Collaboration: Evidence from Research and Development Companies in Malaysia

Zurina Adnan, Johanim Johari, Hazman Shah Abdullah, Jasmine Ahmad
(Submitted 8 August 2016)
(Published 23 August 2017)


Nowadays, interfirm collaboration has become an increasingly popular strategy among many organizations in various industries, in order to remain competitive. Based on the contingency theory, this paper examines the moderating effect of interfirm collaboration on the relationship between Human Resource Management (HRM) practices and organizational performance. Interfirm collaboration refers to the collaboration strategies undertaken by R&D companies, with other companies in similar or diverse functional areas, including R&D, marketing, or manufacturing, to enhance performance.  Using data from 64 R&D companies, the hierarchical regression analyses showed that only collaboration in R&D and functional collaboration in manufacturing significantly moderated the relationship between HRM practices and organizational performance. Overall, the results provided partial support in the domain of the contingency theory. These results, however, are limited by the small sample size, which might have produced non-significant findings. Therefore, the generalization should be taken cautiously. Future research with a larger sample size is needed to confirm the findings.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.22146/gamaijb.12541


Amabile, T. M. 1998. How to kill creativity. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 77-87.
Asakawa, K., Nakamura, H. & Sawada, N. 2010. Firms’ open innovation policies, laboratories’ external collaborations, and laboratories’ R&D performance. R&D Management 40(2): 109-123.
Aziati, A. H. N. & Juhana, S. 2010. Inter-Organizational Knowledge Transfer Through Malaysia E-government IT Outsourcing: A Theoretical Review. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 66: 183-192.
Badawy, M. K. 1988. What we’ve learned: Managing human resources. Research Technology Management 31 (5): 19-35.
Barney, J. 1991. Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management 17(1): 99-120.
Beer, M., Spector, B., Lawrence, P., Mills, D. Q., & Walton, R. E. (1984). Managing Human Assets. . New York: Free Press.
Belderbos, R., Carree, M. & Lokshin, B. 2004. Cooperative R&D and firm performance. Research Management Policy 33: 1477 - 1492.
Belderbos, R., Carree, M. & Lokshin, B. 2006. Complementarity in R&D cooperation strategies. Review of Industrial Organization 28: 401-426.
Boxall, P. 1996. The strategic HRM debate and the resource-based view of the firm. Human Resource Management Journal 6: 59-75.
Boxall, P. & Purcell, J. 2000. Strategic human resource management: Where have we come from and where should we be going. International Journal of Management Reviews 2(2): 183-203.
Campart, S., and Pfister, E. 2007. Technology cooperation and stock market value: An event study of new partnership announcements in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Econ. Innov. New Techn 16(1): 31-49.
Chang, W. A., and T. C. Huang. 2005. Relationship between strategic human resource management and firm performance. International Journal of Manpower 26(5): 434-449.
Chang, P. L., and W. L. Chen. 2002. The effect of human resource management practices on firm performance: empirical evidence from high-tech firms in Taiwan. International Journal of Management 19 (4): 622-631.
Chen, C. C., C. M. Ford, and G. F. Farris. 1999. Do rewards benefit the organization? The effects of reward types and the perception of diverse R&D professionals. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 46 (1): 47-55.
Chen, C.-J., & Huang, J.-W. 2009. Strategic Human Resource Practices and Innovation Performance - The mediating Role of Knowledge Management Capacity. Journal of Business Research, 62, 104-114.
Chong, A. Y.-L., Ooi, K.-B., Lin, B. & Tang, S. Y. 2009. Influence of interorganizational relationships on SMEs’ e-business adoption. Internet Research, 19(3): 313 – 331.
Chow, I. H.-S., & Liu, S. S. 2007. Business Strategy, Organizational Culture, and Performance Outcomes in China’s Technology Industry. Human Resource Planning, 30(2).
Cohen, J. 1988. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). New York: Academic Press.
Culpan, R. 2008. The roles of strategic alliances in gaining sustainable competitive advantage for firms. Management Review 19(1&2): 94-105.
Dagnino, G. B., and G. Padula. 2002. Coopetition strategy, a new kind of interfirm dynamics for value creation. Paper presented at the The European Academy of Management Second Annual Conference-“Innovative Research in Management.” Stockholm.
Delery, J. E., and D. H. Doty. 1996. Modes of theorizing in strategic human resource management: Tests of universalistic, contingency and configurational performance predictions. Academy of Management Journal 39 (4): 802-835.
DeSimone, R. L., J. M. Werner, and D. M. Harris. 2002. Human Resource Development. Fort Worth, USA: Harcourt College Publisher.
Faems, D., B. V. Looy, and D. Koenraad. 2005. Interorganizational collaboration and innovation: Toward a portfolio approach. Journal of Product Innovation Management (22): 238-250.
Farris, G. F., and R. Codero. 2002. Leading your scientists and engineers 2002. Research Technology Management 45 (6): 13-25.
Ghebregiorgis, F., and L. Karsten. 2007. Human resource management practices in Eritrea: Challenges and prospects. Employee Relations 28 (2): 144-163.
Gulati, R. 1998. Alliances and networks. Strategic Management Journal 19 (4): 293-317.
Hair, J. F., A. H. Money, P. Samouel, and M. Page. 2007. Research Methods for Business. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Hair, J. F., W. C. Black, B. J. Babin, R. E. Anderson, and R. L. Tatham. 2006. Multivariate Data Analysis (6th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Heavey, A. L., S. Beijer, J. Federman, M. Hermans, F. Klein, E. McClean, and B. Martinson. 2013. Measurement of HRM practices: Issues regarding scale, scope and substantive content in HRM and performance. In Achievement and Challenges (Ed by Paauve, J., D. Guest, and P. Wright). Wiley, U.K., 129 -171.
Heneman, H. G., J. Timothy, and J. D. Kammeyer-Mueller. 2015. Staffing Organizations (8th ed.). Mishawaka, IN: Pangloss Industries.
Hsu, C.-C., and W-S. Tai. 2009, July 06-08. R&D Collaboration and Organizational performance in Taiwan. Paper presented at the International Conference on Business Administration and Information, Kuala Lumpur.
Huang, T.-C. 2001. The effects of linkage between business and human resource management strategies. Personnel Review 30 (2): 132-151.
Huang, E. Y., and S-C. Lin. 2006. How R&D management practice affects innovation performance: An investigation of high-tech industry in Taiwan. Industrial Management and Data Systems 106 (7): 966-996.
Kaplan, R. S., and D. P. Norton. 1992. The balanced scorecard: Measures that drive performance. Harvard Business Review 70 (1): 71-79.
Kazmi, A., and F. Ahmad. 2001. Differing approaches to strategic human resource management. Journal of Management Research 1 (3): 133-140.
Kim,Y. 1997. Human resource management for different types of R&D professionals: A Korean case. Technology Management Conference ( 6th IAMOT). Sweden.
Kim, B., and H. Oh. 2002. Economic compensation compositions preferred by R&D personnel of different R&D types and intrinsic values. R&D Management 32 (1): 47-59.
Lajara, B. M., F. G. Lillo, and V. S. Sempere. 2002. The role of human resource management in the cooperative strategy process. Human Resource Planning 25 (2): 34-44.
Lajara, B. M., F. G. Lillo, and V. S. Sempere. 2003. Human resources management: A success and failure factor in strategic alliances. Employee Relations 25 (1): 61 - 80.
Laursen, K., and N. Foss. 2003. New human resource management practices, complementarities and the impact on innovation performance Cambridge Journal of Economics 27 (2):243.
Lee, L., and P. K. Wong. 2006. Individual attitudes, organizational reward system and patenting performance of R&D scientists and engineers [electronic version]. Munich Personal RePEc Archive: 1-44. from http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/595.
Lee, S. H., P. K. Wong, and C. L. Chong. 2005. Human and social capital explanations for R&D outcomes. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 52 (1): 59-68.
Lee, L., and P. K. Wong. 2006. Individual attitudes, organizational reward system and patenting performance of R&D scientists and engineers [electronic version]. Munich Personal RePEc Archive: 1-44. From http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/595.
Lorange, P. 1996. A strategic human resource perspective applied to multinational cooperative ventures. International Studies of Management & Organization 26(1): 87-103.
Lorenzoni, G., and A. Lipparini. 1999. The leveraging of interfirm relationships as s distinctive organizational capability: a longitudinal study. Strategic Management Journal 20 (4): 317-338.
Mathis, R. L., and J. H. Jackson. 1985. Personnel/Human Resource Management. New York: West Publishing.
McGee, J. E., M. J. Dowling, and W. L. Megginson. 1995. Cooperative strategy and new venture performance: The role of business strategy and management experience. Strategic Management Journal 16: 565-580.
Michie, J., and M. Sheehan-Quinn. 2001. Labour market flexibility, human resource management and corporate performance. British Journal of Management 12 (4): 287-306.
Milkovich, G. T., and J. M. Newman. 2005. Compensation (8th ed). Singapore: McGraw-Hill.
Miller, W. L., and L. Morris. 1999. 4th Generation R&D: Managing Knowledge, Technology and Innovation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Milkovich, G. T., and J. M. Newman. 2005. Compensation (Eight ed.): McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). 2007. Ninth Malaysian Plan. The Economic Planning Unit. Putrajaya.
Mondy, W. R., and J. J. Martocchio. 2016. Human Resource Management (14th ed.). England: Pearson Education Limited.
Mudambi, R., S. M. Mudambi,and P. Navarra. 2007. Global innovation in MNCs: The effects of subsidary self-determination and teamwork. Journal of Product Innovation Management 24: 442-455.
Parboteeah, K. P., M. Hoegl and R. Styborski. 2005. How effective are professional development methods? An investigation of an R&D unit in an information technology company. Journal of High Technology Management Research 16 (1): 23-36.
Pella, M. D., U. Sumarwan, A. Daryanto, and Kirbrandoko. Factors affecting poor strategy implementation. Gadjah Mada International Journal of Business 15 (2): 183 – 204.
Pennings, J. M. 1987. Structural contingency theory: A multivariate test. Organizational Studies, 8(3): 223-240.
Powell, W. W., K. W. Koput, and L. Smith-Doerr. 1996. Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly 41 (1): 116-145.
Proehl, R. A. 1997. Enhancing the effectiveness of cross-functional teams. Team Performance Management 3 (3): 137-149.
Pucik, V. 1988. Strategic alliances, organizational learning and competitive advantage: The HRM agenda. Human Resource Management 27(1): 77-93.
Ramlall, S. J. 2003. Measuring human resource management’s effectiveness in improving performance. Human Resource Planning, 26(1), 51-62.
Reuer, J. J. 2004. Strategic Alliances. Theory and Evidence. New York: Oxford University Press.
Richard, O. C., and N. B. Johnson. 2001. Strategic human resource management effectiveness and firm performance. International Journal of Human Resource Management 12 (2): 299-310.
Rowley, C., and A. R. Saaidah. 2007. The management of human resources in Malaysia: Locally owned companies and multinational companies. Management Revue 18 (4): 427-453.
Sakakibara, M. 2002. Formation of R&D consortia: Industry and company effects. Strategic Management Journal 23 (11): 1033-1050.
Sampson, R. C. 2007. R&D Alliances and firm performance: The impact of technological diversity and alliance organization on innovation. Academy of Management Journal 50 (2): 364-386.
Schuler, R. S. 1987. Personnel and human resource management choices and organizational strategy. Human Resource Planning 10 (1):1-17.
Schuler, R. S. 2001. Human resource activities in International joint ventures. International Journal of Human Resource Management 12 (1): 1-52.
Schuler, R. S., and S. E. Jackson. 1987. Linking competitive strategy with human resource management practice. Academy of Management Executive 1: 207-219.
Schuler, R S., and S. E.. 2014. Human resource management and organizational effectiveness: Yesterday and today. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance 1 (1): 35 – 55.
Silverman, B. S., and J. A. C. Baum. 2002. Alliance-based competitive dynamics. Academy of Management Journal 45 (4): 791-806.
Shih, H. A., and Y. H. Chiang. 2005. Strategy alignment between HRM, KM and corporate development. International Journal of Manpower 26 (6): 582-603.
Shrader, R. C. 2001. Collaboration and performance in foreign markets: The case of young high-technology manufacturing firms. Academy of Management Journal 44 (1): 45-60.
Soderlund, O. 2007. Strategy Implementation in Inter-Organizational Collaboration: Comparison of cases with deliberate and emergent strategies. Report Series 20: Helsinki University of Technology: Simlab Publications.
Sunoo, B. P. 1995. Wedding HR to strategic alliances. Personnel Journal 74(5): 28-36.
Treen, D. 2001. The HR challenge for the high-tech start-up. IVEY Business Journal, 65(3): 10-11.
Turpin, T., S. Garret-Jones and K. Diment. 2005. Scientists, career choices and organisational change: Managing human resources in cross sector R&D organizations. Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 11 (2): 13-26.
Tzafrir, S. S. 2005. The relationship between trust, HRM practices and firm performance. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 16 (9): 1600-1622.
Tzafrir, S. S. 2006. A universalistic perspective for explaining the relationship between HRM practices and firm performance at different points in time. Journal of Managerial Psychology 21 (2): 109 - 130.
Ulrich, D. 1998. Delivering results a new mandate for human resources professional. Harvard Business Review.
Venkatraman, N. 1989. The concept of fit in strategy research: Toward verbal and statistical correspondence. The Academy of Management Review 14 (3):423-444.
Veugelers, R., and B. Cassiman. 2005. R&D cooperation between firms and universities: Some empirical evidence from Belgian manufacturing. International Journal of Industrial Organization 23 (5-6): 355-379.
Wagner, J. A. 1994. Participation’s effects on performance and satisfaction: A reconsideration of research evidence. The Academy of Management Review 19 (2): 32-330.
Wang, C. W., and R. Y. Horng. 2002. The effect of creative problem solving training on creativity, cognitive type and R&D Performance. R&D Management 32 (1): 35-45.
Wing, L. S. 2001. Things to think about... Why deploy teamwork? Team Performance Management 7 (7/8): 135.
Winkler, I. 2006. Network governance between individual and collective goals: Qualitative evidence from six entworks. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 12(3): 119-134.
Woiceshyn, J., and D. Hartel. 1996. Strategies and performance of Canadian biotechnology firms: An empirical investigation. Technovation 16 (5): 231-243.
Wright, P. M., B. McCormick W. S. Sherman, and G. C. McMahan. 1999. The rrole of human resource practices in petro-chemical refinery performance. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 10 (4): 551-571.
Youndt, M. A., S. A. Snell, J. W. Dean, and D. P. Lepak. 1996. Human resource management, manufacturing strategy and firm performance. Academy of Management Journal 39 (4): 836-866.
Zhou, Y., Y. Hong, and J. Liu. 2013. Internal commitment or external collaboration? The impact of human resource management Systems on firm innovation and performance. Human Resource Management 52 (2): 263–288.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Gadjah Mada International Journal of Business

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.