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The impact of potential and realized absorptive capacity on open innovation: the moderating role of knowledge-oriented leadership

Rodrigo Valio Dominguez Gonzalez (School of Applied Sciences, University of Campinas, Limeira, Brazil)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 30 April 2024




This study aims to analyze the effects of the components of absorptive capacity (ACAP) – potential absorptive capacity (PACAP) and realized absorptive capacity (RACAP) on inbound and outbound open innovation (OI). In addition, this study investigates the moderating role that knowledge-oriented leadership (KOL) plays in the relationship between ACAP and OI.


This research adopts a quantitative approach, using structural equation modeling, in a sample of 218 companies in the Brazilian manufacturing sector, using a random sampling technique and self-administered questionnaire.


The results indicate that while PACAP positively influences inbound and outbound OI, RACAP has a significant relationship only with outbound OI. In addition, KOL moderates the significant relationships between PACAP and RACAP and OI, indicating that the development of a leadership that fosters learning and interaction between employees and sectors of the organization impacts the innovation results of companies in the manufacturing sector.

Practical implications

This study also shows that managers must have an active role in the construction of an organizational context that supports learning through initiatives that encourage the process of trial and error, teamwork and cooperation between employees.


This research advances previous studies by relating the two components of ACAP (PACAP and RACAP) with the two OI models (inbound and outbound), in addition to analyzing the moderating role that KOL plays in this relationship between ACAP and OI.



The author thanks São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP (2016/24401-2) for the financial support and Espaço da Escrita – Unicamp for having translated the manuscript into English.


Gonzalez, R.V.D. (2024), "The impact of potential and realized absorptive capacity on open innovation: the moderating role of knowledge-oriented leadership", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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