Elastic and plastic innovation capability in firms

Bo Zou (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)
Feng Guo (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)
Michael Song (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Publication date: 6 February 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Although the extant innovation literature has extensively explored the attributes of different types of innovation capability, little is known yet about the common phenomenon of the rebound and durableness of innovation capability. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to address these aspects by introducing the concepts of elastic and plastic innovation capability.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the behavioral theory of the firm, the authors propose a theoretical model to study the antecedents and outcomes of elastic and plastic innovation capability. An empirical testing involves two data sets that contained 183 companies in three industries. The empirical evidence supports the existence of the concepts of elastic and plastic innovation capability.

Findings

The research findings also demonstrate that a firm’s past performance is positively related to elastic innovation capability. Elastic innovation capability and organizational aspiration are positively related to plastic innovation capability. Both elastic and plastic innovation capability significantly lead to superior performance.

Originality/value

This study makes three main contributions to the existing innovation literature. First, the authors extend existing knowledge on innovation capability by proposing two new types of innovation capability – elastic and plastic innovation capability. Second, the proposed concepts of elastic and plastic innovation capability contribute to the theory of dynamic capability. Finally, this study reveals the micro-mechanism of elastic and plastic innovation capability from the perspective of the behavior theory of the firm and their different effect on firm performance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the China Natural Science Foundation (Award No.: 71202159).

Citation

Zou, B., Guo, F. and Song, M. (2017), "Elastic and plastic innovation capability in firms", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 198-212. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-12-2015-0488

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.