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Collaborative innovation capability in IT-enabled inter-firm collaboration

Fei Wang (Research Center for Digital Business Management, School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China)
Jing Zhao (Research Center for Digital Business Management, School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China)
Maomao Chi (School of Information Management, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Yajing Li (Research Center for Digital Business Management, School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 4 December 2017

2114

Abstract

Purpose

With the increasingly collaborative nature of innovation and the expanding role of digital platforms on inter-firm collaboration, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the impacts of digital platforms on collaborative innovation capability (CIC) under conditions of two distinctive governance mechanisms. Furthermore, the competitive benefits of CIC at different levels of environmental uncertainty are examined to clarify the performance of collaborative innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The research model is proposed based on dynamic capabilities theory, information technology (IT)-enabled organizational capability and governance mechanisms literature, and then validated by using partial least squares with data collected from 200 Chinese firms that engage in digital collaboration with their major channel distributors.

Findings

Empirical results show that the enabling effect of digital platforms capability on CIC is positively moderated by relational governance while negatively moderated by formal governance, and both governance mechanisms directly and positively influence CIC; the positive relationship between CIC and competitive performance is stronger for higher level of environmental uncertainty; and CIC is the key mediator converting digital platforms capability into competitive performance.

Originality/value

This study enriches the existing literatures in IT-innovation relationship by not only surfacing the interplay of digital platforms capability with two distinctive governance mechanisms in building CIC, but also clarifying the competitive benefits of CIC in an uncertain environment. Moreover, this study helps explain the controversial issue of the business value of IT capability by discovering the mediating role of CIC.

Keywords

Citation

Wang, F., Zhao, J., Chi, M. and Li, Y. (2017), "Collaborative innovation capability in IT-enabled inter-firm collaboration", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 117 No. 10, pp. 2364-2380. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-09-2016-0392

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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