Corporate Spinoffs in Mexico: Between Global Value Chains and Regional Innovation Systems.

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
83 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Oscar F. Contreras, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
Maciel Garcia, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
The creation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in knowledge-intensive sectors in Mexico is linked to two types of enabling environments: technological spillovers from the multinational enterprises (MNEs) operating in the country, and the maturation of Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) in various regions of Mexico. In this work we analyze the mechanisms of creation and consolidation of SMEs in sectors such as electronics, metalworking and information technology by analyzing 25 corporate spinoffs created after the start of the NAFTA.

It is generally accepted that learning and innovation are key elements for the competitiveness and growth of countries, regions and companies. According to Pietrobelli and Rabellotti (2011), companies located in less developed countries learn and innovate based on their participation in global value chains (GVC) because they have to meet product quality, delivery times, production costs, labor and environmental requirements.

Likewise, the literature has been emphasizing the role of MNEs as bearers of knowledge on the GVC and their need to transfer technical and managerial knowledge to local companies in order to upgrade their technical and managerial skills, and thus meet the standards and specifications of the MNEs.  Therefore, knowledge transfer processes from the MNE to its employees are a catalyst for the formation of new local companies (Gereffi et al, 2005; Contreras and Carrillo, 2012).

In this paper we analyze the convergence of knowledge spillovers from MNEs leaders with the enabling conditions of the RIS in the process of creating local companies, known in the literature as corporate spinoffs. These new technology-based companies are related to the learning and innovation rooted in the local territory, and in turn linked to two kinds of governance; GVC and RIS governances. The latter related to the processes of knowledge transfer and innovation among businesses, government and institutions of higher education, specifically through linkages and interactions between these actors (Cooke, 2001; Gereffi et al, 2005).

We use two complementary approaches: Global Value Chains (Gereffi et al, 2005; Pietrobelli and Rabellotti, 2011) and Regional Innovation Systems (Lundvall, 2007; Cooke, 2001; Trippl, 2009), under the argument that corporate spinoffs are the result of organizational learning, knowledge capabilities, innovation, social and professional networks as well as specific regional policies and dynamics in the context of CGV and SRI. Empirical research is based on company visits and interviews with owners and managers of 25 SMEs created through spinoffs processes in Mexico.