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Ego–network stability or ego–network expansion? The effects of ego–network dynamics on recombinant innovation under heterogeneous knowledge base

Jianyu Zhao (Jianyu Zhao and Cheng Fu are both based at the School of Economics and Management, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)
Cheng Fu (Jianyu Zhao and Cheng Fu are both based at the School of Economics and Management, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 30 April 2024

Issue publication date: 16 May 2024

173

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the antecedents of recombinant innovation from the perspective of ego–network dynamics, and further disentangle whether ego–network stability or ego–network expansion is more conducive to recombinant innovation under heterogeneous knowledge base.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses 1,801 patent data in China’s biotechnology field as a sample and adopts fixed effects regression model to examine the effects of ego–network dynamics on recombinant innovation and further uses the Wald tests to discern which ego–network dynamic is more conducive to recombinant innovation under heterogeneous knowledge base.

Findings

The empirical results indicate that ego–network dynamics have a positive impact on recombinant innovation. Specifically, for firms with high knowledge breadth and high knowledge depth as well as high knowledge breadth and low knowledge depth, ego–network stability is more conducive to recombinant innovation. By contrast, for firms with low knowledge breadth and high knowledge depth, recombinant innovation benefits more from ego–network expansion. As for firms with low knowledge breadth and low knowledge depth, both ego–network stability and ego–network expansion can promote recombinant innovation, while the effects are not significant.

Practical implications

This research may enlighten managers to choose suitable ego–network dynamics strategies for recombinant innovation based on their knowledge base.

Originality/value

This research not only contributes to the literature on recombinant innovation by revealing the impact of different ego–network dynamics on recombinant innovation but also contributes to network dynamics theory by exploring whether ego–network stability or ego–network expansion is more conducive to recombinant innovation under a heterogeneous knowledge base.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant numbers 72072046, 71602041, 71602042]; Social Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province [Grant number 21GLB060]; and Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province [Grant number LH2022G004].

Declarations of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Citation

Zhao, J. and Fu, C. (2024), "Ego–network stability or ego–network expansion? The effects of ego–network dynamics on recombinant innovation under heterogeneous knowledge base", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 1278-1308. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2023-0386

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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