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The moderating effect of managerial discretion on cross-border knowledge search and the innovation quality of high-tech firms in a global health emergency: evidence from China

Yunlong Duan (International Business School, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, Kunming, China)
Shuling Liu (Economics and Management School, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Chang MU (International Business School, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, Kunming, China)
Xiangwei Liu (International Business School, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, Kunming, China)
Edwin Cheng (Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China)
Yongsong Liu (International Language and Cultural School, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, Kunming, China)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 30 September 2022

Issue publication date: 12 January 2023

122

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to analyze the moderating effect of managerial discretion on the relationship between cross-border knowledge search and the high-tech firms’ innovation quality in a global health emergency and addresses the following issues: the influence mechanism of different types of cross-border knowledge search on the high-tech firms’ innovation quality in a global health emergency; and the moderating role of different dimensions of manager discretion on the above relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the firms’ strategy selection methods, the authors divided cross-border knowledge search into three aspects, namely, breadth, depth and balance, and analyzed the impact of cross-border knowledge search on the innovation quality of high-tech firms in a global health emergency, taking managerial discretion as the moderating variable, and divided it into position rights, pay rights and operation rights according to the key rights of firms’ strategic management. Furthermore, the authors constructed a theoretical model, and for an analysis sample, the authors collected data from Chinese high-tech firms from 2013 to 2021.

Findings

The empirical results show that there is an inverted U-shaped relationship between cross-border knowledge search breadth, depth and balance and the innovation quality of high-tech firms. The position rights, pay rights and operation rights of managerial discretion have partially significant moderating effects on the relationship between cross-border knowledge search breadth, depth and balance and the high-tech firms’ innovation quality.

Originality/value

Considerable literature has grown around the theme of the impact of knowledge search on the firms’ innovation quality. Nevertheless, only a few studies draw on the combination of global health emergency, cross-border knowledge search and the innovation quality; in particular, no literature has analyzed the relationship between the three from the managerial discretion perspective. Exploring the above relationships has great theoretical value for enriching and improving knowledge management and innovation management theories and provides a theoretical basis and practical support for high-tech firms to face challenges of a global health emergency and to break through the innovation dilemma.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The paper was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation Project of China (Grant No. 72274165), the Applied Basic Research Key Project of Yunnan Province (Grant No. 2018FA037) and the Yunnan Philosophy and Social Science Innovation Team Project. The authors thank them wholeheartedly for funding their research.

Citation

Duan, Y., Liu, S., MU, C., Liu, X., Cheng, E. and Liu, Y. (2023), "The moderating effect of managerial discretion on cross-border knowledge search and the innovation quality of high-tech firms in a global health emergency: evidence from China", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 121-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-11-2021-0841

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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