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Political skills matter: the role of academic entrepreneurs in team innovation

Xueyan Zhang (School of Engineering Management and Real Estate, Henan University of Economics and Law, Zhengzhou, China)
Xiaohu Zhou (School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China)
Qiao Wang (Guizhou University of Finance and Economics, Guiyang, China)
Zhouyue Wu (School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China)
Yue Sui (School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 13 February 2023

258

Abstract

Purpose

Based on social influence theory, this paper aims to explore the influence of academic entrepreneurs on team innovation activities. The innovation behavior of academic team members is the key behavior in academic entrepreneurial activities. As a special entrepreneurial group, academic entrepreneurs' political skills play an important role in stimulating team innovative behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a multi-level study design and takes as samples the paired data of 91 academic entrepreneurial teams (n = 475). Based on team cognition, it constructs a model of the influence mechanism of academic entrepreneurs' political skills on team innovation behavior and explores the mechanism of transactive memory system in this influence effect. The authors use HLM and PROCESS macro to test our multilevel model.

Findings

The results show that academic entrepreneurs' political skills positively impact team innovation behavior, and a transactive memory system plays a mediating role between them. Team psychological safety significantly enhances the positive relationship of both academic entrepreneurs' political skills and a transactive memory system with team innovation behavior. Moreover, with enhanced perceptions of team psychological safety, academic entrepreneurs' political skills are more likely to improve team innovation behavior through the transactive memory system.

Originality/value

The study explores the influence of transactive memory system on the relationship between academic entrepreneurs' political skills and team innovation behavior, with the team cognitive perspective derived from social influence theory. This provides authors with new insights on the complex dynamics at place in the team innovation process and offers implications for how we can fruitfully manage this process.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the National Social Science Foundation of China. The authors also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of companies and individuals who participated in the interviews and surveys.

The authors wish to thank the Bidding Project of Government Decision Research in Henan Province of China (2022JC004), Soft Science Project in Henan Province of China (232400411071) and Project of Science and Technology Think Tank in Henan Province of China (HNKJZK-2023-75B). The authors also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the numerous companies and individuals who participated in the interviews and surveys.

Citation

Zhang, X., Zhou, X., Wang, Q., Wu, Z. and Sui, Y. (2023), "Political skills matter: the role of academic entrepreneurs in team innovation", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-08-2022-0456

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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