University of Oulu

Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Jialei Yang, Distinguishing between appropriability and appropriation: A systematic review and a renewed conceptual framing, Research Policy, Volume 51, Issue 1, 2022, 104417, ISSN 0048-7333,

Distinguishing between appropriability and appropriation : a systematic review and a renewed conceptual framing

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Author: Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia1; Yang, Jialei1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, PO Box 4600, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2021-11-16


This study systematically reviews 200 articles published over the past three decades to reveal how appropriability and appropriation have been explained and how those perspectives resonate with developments in the innovation environment. Our results show that despite the extensive stream of literature, little effort has been made to systematically advance theory on appropriability and appropriation. Based on and extending prior literature, we propose a conceptual framing that distinguishes appropriability and appropriation, and that explains how innovating organizations build their readiness to benefit from innovation and how they realize that potential. We outline appropriability as the potential to benefit from an innovation, which accrues through instruments of appropriability: isolating appropriability mechanisms and complementary assets; and appropriation as the realization of that potential, which manifests in private and social benefits when the instruments are employed in processes for exclusion, leverage, or disclosure. We highlight the strategic importance of aligning these elements and appropriability conditions in realizing appropriation outcomes. The paper closes with a discussion on the framework’s applications and relevant future research avenues.

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Series: Research policy
ISSN: 0048-7333
ISSN-E: 1873-7625
ISSN-L: 0048-7333
Volume: 51
Issue: 1
Article number: 104417
DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2021.104417
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Funding: We acknowledge the financial support received from Finnish Foundation for Economic Education, Finnish Cultural Foundation, and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (