A Functional Perspective on Learning and Innovation: Investigating the Organization of Absorptive Capacity
We investigate the intra-organizational antecedents of firm-level absorptive capacity (AC). Specifically, we examine how the functional areas of R&D, manufacturing and marketing contribute to the absorption of knowledge coming from different external knowledge sources. The econometric results on a representative sample of Swiss firms show that non-R&D-based AC plays a significantly different role compared to the standard R&D-based one that is typically considered in studies on AC. We also reveal that AC is organized through a specialization of external knowledge absorption across functional areas. In particular, we find: (1) R&D is particularly important as an absorber of knowledge from public research organizations for product innovation; (2) manufacturing is important as an absorber of supplier knowledge for product innovation and of competitor knowledge for process innovation; and (3) marketing helps to absorb customer knowledge for product and process innovation as well as competitor knowledge for product innovation. We further investigate the differences between product and process innovation and find that marketing-based AC is more important for the former, although the overall analysis of these differences is less conclusive. In short, we show how functional areas play a role in the organization of AC and that firms may need an ambidextrous strategy to innovate effectively based on both upstream- and downstream-based AC.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 (August)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CIAI20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CIAI20|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:18:y:2011:i:6:p:581-610. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.