The proximity concept refers to types of inter-organizational relationships that are expected to facilitate interactive learning and collaborative innovation. Different forms of proximity include geographical, cognitive, social, institutional and organizational proximity. Following an extensive case study of a new diet margarine developed by Unilever, we extend the proximity framework by theorizing how the relative importance of each proximity dimension depends on the type of knowledge being produced, where we distinguish between analytical, synthetic and symbolic knowledge. We argue that our theoretical framework in principle applies to product innovations in all science-based industries.
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