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Building Dynamic Capabilities: Innovation Driven by Individual-, Firm-, and Network-Level Effects

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  • Frank T. Rothaermel

    (College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30308)

  • Andrew M. Hess

    (College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30308)

Abstract

Following the dynamic capabilities perspective, we suggest that antecedents to innovation can be found at the individual, firm, and network levels. Thus, we challenge two assumptions common in prior research: (1) that significant variance exists at the focal level of analysis, whereas other levels of analysis are assumed to be homogeneous, and (2) that the focal level of analysis is independent from other levels of analysis. Accordingly, we advance a set of hypotheses to simultaneously assess the direct effects of antecedents at the individual, firm, and network levels on innovation output. We then investigate whether a firm's antecedents to innovation lie across different levels. To accomplish this, we propose two competing interaction hypotheses. We juxtapose the hypothesis that the individual-, firm-, and network-level antecedents to innovation are substitutes versus the proposition that these innovation mechanisms are complements. We test our multilevel theoretical model using an unusually comprehensive and detailed panel data set that documents the innovation attempts of global pharmaceutical companies within biotechnology over a 22-year time period (1980--2001). We find evidence that the antecedents to innovation lie across different levels of analysis and can have compensating or reinforcing effects on firm-level innovative output.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank T. Rothaermel & Andrew M. Hess, 2007. "Building Dynamic Capabilities: Innovation Driven by Individual-, Firm-, and Network-Level Effects," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(6), pages 898-921, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:18:y:2007:i:6:p:898-921
    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1070.0291
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