In-house or outsourcing skills: how best to manage for innovation?

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Doran, Justin
Ryan, Geraldine
Bourke, Jane
Crowley, Frank
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World Scientific Publishing
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Innovation is essential for driving business survival, development, and growth. Today, managers within firms continuously search for new ways to gain competitive advantage. In many cases, this comes from the effective use of intangible assets such as workplace skills and abilities. Despite this, little is known about what types of skills are required for innovation, whether these vary by innovation-type, or whether it matters if these skills are outsourced. This paper addresses these issues using data collected on eight skill types as part of the 2008–2010 Irish Community Innovation Survey. We find that there is substantial heterogeneity in the effectiveness of skills at generating different kinds of innovation. In addition, for some types of innovation, it is best to develop the skills in-house (e.g., Engineering skills for product innovation) while for others it is best to outsource the skills (e.g., Multimedia skills for process and organisational innovation).
Skills , Innovation , In-house , Outsource , Multivariate probit
Doran, J., Ryan, G., Bourke, J. and Crowley, F. (2019) 'In-house or outsourcing skills: how best to manage for innovation?', International Journal of Innovation Management, 2050010, doi: 10.1142/s1363919620500103
© 2019 World Scientific Publishing Company. This is the accepted version of an article published in International Journal of Innovation Management, available online: