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Can a region’s network location characteristics affect its innovation capability? Empirical evidence from China

Minrui Han (School of Economics and Management, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)
Bing Sun (School of Economics and Management, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)
Xiao Su (School of Economics and Management, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 10 November 2020

Issue publication date: 31 March 2021

270

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the influence of a region’s network location characteristics and indirect connections on its innovation capability. The aim is to assist regions in different network locations to use innovation resources to improve their innovation capabilities more efficiently.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper represents the Chinese regional innovation network using the gravity model. A theoretical framework is developed to explore the relationships between a region’s innovation capability and its network location. Hypotheses are tested using hierarchical regressions.

Findings

First, this paper finds that a region’s network centrality can promote its innovation capability. Second, a structural hole can positively adjust the relationship between a region’s centrality and innovation capability. Third, a region’s indirect connections can inhibit its innovation capability while exhibiting a U-shaped relationship in moderating centrality and innovation capability.

Originality/value

This study uses a multi-index system to construct an innovation network covering 29 regions in China. This network represents the innovation cooperation and overall situation of innovation in China. The paper is one of the first attempts at investigating the relationship between regional network locations and innovation capability. It is also the first attempt at testing the influence of indirect connections on a region’s innovation capability. The findings provide a new perspective on the factors influencing regional innovation capacity and a new way for regions to improve their innovation capability.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71774035).

Citation

Han, M., Sun, B. and Su, X. (2021), "Can a region’s network location characteristics affect its innovation capability? Empirical evidence from China", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 328-349. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-12-2019-0445

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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