Previous studies have shown that the application of information technology (IT) can help break through the innovation boundaries of firms and has undoubtedly become a key enabler of collaborative innovation. These studies, however, are mainly based on theoretical analysis and case studies, and little is empirically known about the relationship between IT investments and collaborative innovation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to empirically explore how firms' IT investments affect the firms' collaborative innovation performance. The authors also examine the moderating roles of the top management team's (TMT's) educational background and absorptive capacity in this relationship.
The authors collected data on 2,097 listed Chinese manufacturing companies and used the ordinary least squares (OLS) method to perform regression analysis. In addition, the authors conducted robustness tests using the propensity score matching (PSM) method and the instrumental variable method.
The results show that the relationship between IT investments and collaborative innovation is inverted, U-shaped and curvilinear. In addition, the TMT's educational background and absorptive capacity positively moderate the inverted U-shaped relationship between IT investments and collaborative innovation.
The study's findings on the relationship between IT investments and collaborative innovation differ from previous mainstream findings that recognized a positive linear relationship. The authors' findings deepen the understanding of the dual role of IT investments. Moreover, this research helps expand the contingency perspective in IT investments and collaborative innovation research.
Funding: The authors would like to acknowledge the funding support of the National Social Science Foundation of China (No. 21BGL061).
Wu, W., Zhang, P. and Tsai, S.-B. (2023), "IT investment and corporate collaborative innovation: the moderating role of the top management team's educational background and absorptive capacity", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-12-2021-0899
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