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The impact of open-border organization culture and employees’ knowledge, attitudes, and rewards with regards to open innovation: an empirical study

Deemah Alassaf (Department of Engineering and Technology Management, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA and King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Marina Dabić (Marina Dabić is based at the Department of International Economics, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia and Department of Management, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Dara Shifrer (Department of Sociology, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA)
Tugrul Daim (Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA and Chaoyang University of Technology, Taiwan)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 16 October 2020

Issue publication date: 17 November 2020




The purpose of this paper is to fill a significant research gap in academic literature pertaining to open innovation (OI). To do so, this paper empirically tests the impact of organizational culture, employees’ knowledge, attitudes and rewards as antecedents and mediators of OI adoption in organizations, facilitating a more thorough understanding by using an empirical multi-level approach.


This paper analyzes the results of the “Identification of Industrial Needs for Open Innovation Education in Europe” survey through a quantitative analysis using logistic regression models. This survey includes 528 employees working in 28 different industrial sectors in 37 countries, most of which are in Europe.


The results suggest a positive impact of organizational characteristics on the adoption of OI (i.e. including the adoption of outside-in and inside-out OI activities in participating organizations), showing that the openness of an organization’s culture increases its likelihood of adopting an OI paradigm. More importantly, the results highlight the positive mediating effect of employees’ knowledge and rewards on this relationship.

Research limitations/implications

The data set that was the basis of this paper was generated in European countries, the results of the analysis are limited and appropriate for this region and may vary when applied to other regions of the world.

Practical implications

The proposed multi-level approach offers new insight into organizational knowledge. It enables the improvement of OI and knowledge management practices in organizations by assisting practitioners and academics in recognizing the relationship between organizational culture; employees’ knowledge, attitudes and rewards; and the adoption of the OI paradigm.

Social implications

This paper offers a possible explanation on why open-border cultures are more likely to have a successful OI adoption, by relating it to factors that advance in the presence of an open-border culture, such as active participation of OI relative departments in knowledge sourcing and knowledge exchange, and rewarding employees for OI activities.


This paper presents a new framework which links organizational culture to OI, moving on from merely examining culture in terms of its positive or negative impact on OI adoption. It contributes to research on the OI paradigm and knowledge management by highlighting the significance of antecedents and mediators from a multi-level perspective using multiple units of analysis. Most previous studies focus on a single unit of analysis.



Alassaf, D., Dabić, M., Shifrer, D. and Daim, T. (2020), "The impact of open-border organization culture and employees’ knowledge, attitudes, and rewards with regards to open innovation: an empirical study", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 24 No. 9, pp. 2273-2297.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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