Partnering government laboratories with industry: A comparison of the United States and Japan from a government laboratory view

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Barry Bozeman


Public administration, Management, technology transfer

Subject Categories

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The objective of this study is to identify variances in the effect of government-industry cooperative R&D on technology transfer, and in the determinants of collaboration propensity in the United States and Japan. For this purpose, this study adopts an interorganizational-theoretic framework that assumes the effectiveness of technology transfer as a direct function of the frequency of cooperative R&D. The propensity of government-industry cooperative R&D formation is theorized as a function of government-industry cooperative R&D (GICR&D) contingencies which are in turn affected by task and institutional properties of government laboratories. Using statistical methods, this study analyzes the data obtained from the mailing surveys of 173 United States and 86 Japanese government laboratory directors.

Major findings of this study are as follows. Regarding the relationships between collaboration and transfer effectiveness, cooperative R&D was perceived neither as an effective, nor as a major mechanism for transferring technologies in Japan, and to a lesser degree, in the United States. The two countries were different rather than similar in the formation effect of task and institutional properties. Government laboratories in the United States were likely to form collaboration irrespective of research missions, whereas only basic research mission was positive in Japan. Red tape had a recognizable positive effect in Japan, whereas it had a discouraging one in the United States. Resource privateness was more influential than resource publicness as much in Japan as in the United States. Government parenthood was positive in Japan but results were not firm in the United States. Two countries were very similar in the effect of GICR&D contingencies. Mission diversity, commercial project orientation, and organizational importance of resource acquisition were positive in both countries, with an exception of Japan being not significant in the importance of resource acquisition. Commercial project orientation was the most influential factor in the United States, and government parenthood was the most influential one in Japan.


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