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The role of innovation in building competitive advantages: an empirical investigation

Prodromos Chatzoglou (Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece)
Dimitrios Chatzoudes (Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 18 August 2017

Issue publication date: 2 January 2018




Nowadays, innovation appears as one of the main driving forces of organisational success. Despite the above fact, its impact on the propensity of an organisation to develop and sustain a competitive advantage has not yet received sufficient empirical investigation. The purpose of this paper is to enhance the existing empirical literature by focusing on the antecedents of innovation and its impact on competitive advantage. It proposes a newly developed conceptual framework that adopts a three-step approach, highlighting areas that have rarely been simultaneously examined before.


The examination of the proposed conceptual framework was performed with the use of a newly developed structured questionnaire that was distributed to a group of Greek manufacturing companies. The questionnaire has been successfully completed by chief executive officers (CEOs) from 189 different companies. CEOs were used as key respondents due to their knowledge and experience. The reliability and the validity of the questionnaire were thoroughly examined. Empirical data were analysed using the structural equation modelling technique. The study is empirical (based on primary data), explanatory (examines cause and effect relationships), deductive (tests research hypotheses) and quantitative (includes the analysis of quantitative data collected with the use of a structured questionnaire).


Results indicate that knowledge management, intellectual capital, organisational capabilities and organisational culture have significant direct and indirect effects on innovation, underlining the importance of their simultaneous enhancement. Finally, the positive effect of innovation on the creation of competitive advantages is empirically validated, bridging the gap in the relevant literature and offering avenues for additional future research.


The causal relationship between innovation and competitive advantage, despite its significant theoretical support, has not been empirically validated. The present paper aspires to bridge this gap, investigating the impact of innovation on the development of competitive advantages. Moreover, the present study adopts a multidimensional approach that has never been explored in the existing innovation literature, making the examination of the proposed conceptual framework an interesting research topic.



Chatzoglou, P. and Chatzoudes, D. (2018), "The role of innovation in building competitive advantages: an empirical investigation", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 44-69.



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