Firm, innovation, competitiveness and science park development in Thailand

Wongwanich, Muttamas (2022). Firm, innovation, competitiveness and science park development in Thailand. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Science parks (SPs) have been a feature of innovation policies across developed market economies for over 70 years. The future of emerging economies lies in innovation. The development of policies that enhance pathways to innovation in emerging economies is therefore critical, but as yet this issue is under-developed in the literature. SP policy has often been guided by the application of a triple helix approach which, however, presupposes the existence of a framework of well-established institutions that may still be forming in an emerging economy. To understand the contribution SPs make to emerging economies, it is necessary to supplement the triple helix approach by exploring the conditions for successful innovation in specific collaborative projects within the context of an emerging economy setting.
This study aims to understand regional innovation processes in an emerging economy, with special reference to SPs. The objectives are to 1) explore the adoption and implementation of a SP policy in an emerging economy, 2) identify the roles played by triple helix actors and define the relationships that support commercialisation of innovation projects and firm innovativeness, 3) develop an inter-and intra-firm project-level understanding of the impacts of the implementation of a SP policy in an emerging economy setting including exploring critical inputs from SPs, academics, and entrepreneurs, and 4) evaluate existing theory that has been applied to understanding SPs at the firm/project level.
The study is based on 57 in-depth interviews with SP directors, entrepreneurs, academics, university representatives those engaged with innovation projects in one of Thailand’s regional SPs. The results show that SP analysis, informed by the triple helix approach, has less validity within an emerging economy setting where the triple helix’s components are not yet fully established. The triple helix approach highlights limitations within the existing institutional environment in emerging countries which obstructs regional innovation processes, including limited availability of resources for entrepreneur development, the inconsistency of supporting policies, and underdeveloped HEI structures. These challenges are too complex to overcome without having long-term strategies. Alternatively, a small steps approach to enhancing innovation can be adopted by focusing on firm-level innovation projects including identifying opportunities for policy enhancement. The innovation value chain (IVC) approach provides one way to conceptualise firm-level innovation highlighting the critical inputs required for innovation to occur and the relationships created between project team members and the ways these influence project outcomes. The triple helix and IVC approaches then supplement one another to enhance understanding of emerging economy innovation.
Nevertheless, a more granular approach that examines and conceptualises the conditions for successful innovation project development is required, and this is developed for the first time in this thesis with a focus on the project level. The approach proposed and developed here is one that, draws inspiration from string theory. This string-based approach explores the ways in which different types of expertise are braided together within a SP innovation project. Within this braiding process, there are challenges in balancing competing institutional logics which provides a critical additional challenge requiring the development of new policy pathways within emerging economy settings. The key issue is to appreciate how conflicting logics enable or constrain firm-level innovation processes within the context of the wider framework conditions that emerge with SP policy implementation within emerging economy settings. Investigating innovation projects, where the institutional framework is still consolidating, can shed light on innovation projects where these frameworks are well established in developed market economies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School, Department of Management
Funders: Other
Other Funders: The Royal Thai Government
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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