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The effects of organizational isomorphism on innovation performance through knowledge search in industrial cluster

Hui Zhang (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)
Baoliang Hu (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the relationships of both organizational isomorphism and knowledge search with the innovation performance of cluster enterprises. It also specifies the mechanism by which organizational isomorphism affects innovation performance, through knowledge search.

Design/methodology/approach

Firm-level data were collected with questionnaires distributed to cluster enterprises in Zhejiang Province, China, which produced 165 usable responses for the analysis. Both multiple regression analyses and structural equation modelling were used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Normative isomorphism and mimetic isomorphism have inverse U-shaped effects on the innovation performance of cluster enterprises, as does exploratory knowledge search. Exploitative knowledge search and the balance between two types of knowledge search have positive effects on the innovation performance of cluster enterprises; exploratory and exploitative knowledge searches exert partial mediation effects between the organizational isomorphism and innovation performance of cluster enterprises. The mediating effect of knowledge search transforms the inverse U-shaped effect of normative isomorphism and mimetic isomorphism on innovation performance into a positive effect.

Originality/value

This study provides new insights into the effects of organizational isomorphism on innovation performance by showing the indirect influence of organizational isomorphism in clusters. The study proposes a strategic logic of moderate isomorphism, clarifies the innovative effect of different knowledge search modes and reveals the construction and management mechanisms of organizational isomorphism and knowledge search strategy of firms in clusters.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and the Editor-in-Chief for their helpful comments and suggestions. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71302149), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. LY17G020026), the Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of Zhejiang Province (No. RWSKZD02-201209), and the research center of information technology and economic and social development of Zhejiang Province.

Citation

Zhang, H. and Hu, B. (2017), "The effects of organizational isomorphism on innovation performance through knowledge search in industrial cluster", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 209-229. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-04-2016-0076

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited