The temporal trajectories of innovative search: Insights from public hospital services
This article explores the temporal trajectories of innovative search. Drawing on conceptual ideas from the behavioural theory of the firm, it proposes that the level of temporal persistence in organisations’ innovative search activities is affected by four key factors. These include (i) the mode of innovative search as well as organisations’ (ii) strategic aspirations, (iii) slack resources and (iv) performance feedback. This conceptual model is tested in the context of public hospital services in England. Results from dynamic panel data analyses reveal stronger temporal persistence in science- than in practice-based innovative search activities. Findings also suggest that specialist hospitals relying on a continuous stream of new products, services and processes to meet their strategic aspirations are better positioned to sustain science-based innovative search activities than their generalist counterparts. Similarly, results uncover a positive association between the availability of financial slack and hospitals’ ability to continuously engage in superior levels of science-based innovative search. Contrary to theoretical expectations, however, positive performance feedback does not appear to have any persistence-enhancing effect.
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