This chapter analyses the potential role of MNEs’ R&D operations in the economic progress of the CEE transition economies. Though the previous chapters have indicated very limited status for the output of MNE laboratories in CEE as an already activated source of technology in subsidiaries, the expectation is that the deepening of R&D commitment will be a central element in the creative transition from phase-one application of established sources of competitiveness to phase-two development driven by new technological capabilities. In the following sections we review the scientific heritage of the CEE countries under central planning, and characterize the inherited national systems of innovation as potentially strong but distorted in terms of ineffectual competitive activation. We then conceptualize ways in which MNEs’ technology strategies, and approaches to globalizing their R&D programmes, may help rebalance and operationalize the scientific competence of the transition economies. Results from the survey of HQs are reviewed to discern the extent of their R&D commitment to the CEE economies and to evaluate the influences recognized by both MNEs with R&D in place (or planned) and those that have so far rejected the possibility of such units. This addresses demand-side decision factors that perceive R&D as an element in MNEs’ attempts to deepen their competitiveness in CEE economies, and supply-side influences deriving from the potential benefits of accessing and applying distinctive science and technology competences available in the region.
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- MNEs’ R&D and the Technological Transition in CEE
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