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How does culture influence innovation? A systematic literature review

Mu Tian (Department of Economics and Business, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Ping Deng (Department of Management, Monte Ahuja College of Business, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)
Yingying Zhang (Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Maria Paz Salmador (Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 8 February 2018

Issue publication date: 3 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to conduct a systematic literature review of the studies that have analyzed the impact of culture on innovation.


The authors carried out a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed articles in the past 37 years (January 1980-January 2017). Based on a total of 61 identified primary studies, the authors developed two clusters of culture definition studied in relation to innovation, including organizational culture and national culture.


After reporting the findings of the systematic literature review, the authors discuss how a variety of culturally related factors combine to facilitate or restrict innovation performance in their corresponding cluster. The findings highlight the complex and idiosyncratic relationship between culture and innovation. Future research lines are recommended.

Research limitations/implications

The authors adopt a systematic literature review method to probe into existing literature, inevitably missing some empirical studies. Implications for future research are suggested.

Practical implications

The paper offers interesting implications for managers and academia. For business practitioners, this study can provide a useful reference regarding the role of cultures in the corporate internal management or international operations; for scholars, the study can provide a current research landscape and development process in this field.


The findings are derived from a systematic literature review that has studied the influence of culture on innovation. In addition, implications and insights as to where future research might be usefully inquired in this field are provided.



This study was partially supported by Knowledge and Innovation in, to and from Emerging Markets Project Acronym: K.I.T.F.E.M. (Grant No. 734447), China Scholarship Council (CSC) (File No. 201306090133), and the Monte Ahuja Endowment Fund for the Monte Ahuja Endowed Chair of Global Business at Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA. The research was in part accomplished when the first author, Mu Tian, was a Visiting PhD Student under the supervision of Dr Ping Deng in the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University, March-September 2017.


Tian, M., Deng, P., Zhang, Y. and Salmador, M.P. (2018), "How does culture influence innovation? A systematic literature review", Management Decision, Vol. 56 No. 5, pp. 1088-1107.



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