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Institutional pressures and cluster firms’ ambidextrous innovation: the mediating role of strategic cognition

Bo Song (Shanghai Institute of Tourism, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China)
Zhonghua Zhao (Shanghai Institute of Tourism, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 2 March 2021

Issue publication date: 31 March 2021

380

Abstract

Purpose

How do institutional pressures influence the cluster firm’s innovation? Institutional pressure consists of regulative, normative and cognitive pressures; most scholars have only focused on the influence of regulative pressure as institutional environment on innovation. In addition, the nature of strategic cognition, as the mediator act on innovation strategy, remains underexplored in the literature. Based on institution theory and ambidextrous innovation theory, this study aims to propose a framework to examine the mechanism of institutional pressures acting on ambidextrous innovation through the moderated mediating role of strategic cognition in clusters.

Design/methodology/approach

Using survey data collected from 422 sampled firms in China, regression models were used to test hypotheses from the mediating role of strategic cognition between institutional pressures and cluster firm’s ambidextrous innovation.

Findings

The results showed that regulative, cognitive pressures and, especially, normative pressures have significant positive effects on cluster firms’ ambidextrous innovation. Strategic cognition presented by prospector and analyzer mediates the relationship between institutional pressure and ambidextrous innovation except defender; dynamic environment positively moderates the mediating effects of prospector cognition on explorative innovation, and negatively moderates the mediating effects of analyzer cognition on exploitative innovation.

Originality/value

The findings of this study have some implications that strategic cognition played a partially meditating role between the institutional pressure and ambidextrous innovation. Government should construct a dynamic innovation policy system according to the resource endowment in different regions; furthermore, classification support system to cluster firms with different strategic cognition should be built.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding information: Humanities and Social Sciences projects of the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 17YJA630086), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.71302021), Shanghai Science and Technology Development Foundation Soft Science Research Program of China (Grant No. 19692103100).

Citation

Song, B. and Zhao, Z. (2021), "Institutional pressures and cluster firms’ ambidextrous innovation: the mediating role of strategic cognition", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 245-262. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-11-2019-0397

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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