Strategic Management Review > Vol 5 > Issue 1-2

The Role of Knowledge Resources in Penrose's The Theory of the Growth of the Firm: An IPR Perspective

Nianchen Han, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, , Tony W. Tong, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA,
Suggested Citation
Nianchen Han and Tony W. Tong (2024), "The Role of Knowledge Resources in Penrose's The Theory of the Growth of the Firm: An IPR Perspective", Strategic Management Review: Vol. 5: No. 1-2, pp 125-147.

Publication Date: 08 Apr 2024
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Collaborative strategy,  Corporate strategy,  Knowledge, innovation, and technology,  International strategy
Firm growthknowledge resourceuse and ownershippatentintellectual property right (IPR)appropriability hazardtransaction cost theoryresource-based theory


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In this article:
Background Literature 
Firm Growth within and across Organizational Boundaries 
Firm Growth within and across Geographic Boundaries 
Limitations of IPRs and Broader Implications 
Future Research 
Discussion and Conclusion 


Edith Penrose's theory of the growth of the firm is widely recognized in strategic management. By contrast, her contribution to research on the international patenting system is much less well known among management scholars. In this paper, we link together Penrose's two streams of intellectual contributions, by focusing sharply on the use and protection of knowledge resources — within and across firms — domestically and internationally. Applying a transaction cost economics lens, we propose that an effective (international) patent system makes it possible to separate the use from the ownership of knowledge resources, thus facilitating a broader use of such resources for achieving firm growth, within and across organizational and geographic boundaries.



Strategic Management Review, Volume 5, Issue 1-2 Special Issue in Honor on Edith Penrose and The Theory of the Growth of the Firm
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.