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Ego-network stability and exploratory innovation: the moderating role of knowledge networks

Jingbei Wang (School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China) (Department for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Technical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany)
Naiding Yang (School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China)
Min Guo (School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 26 October 2020

Issue publication date: 2 July 2021

561

Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies examined the effect of inter-organizational collaboration relationships on organizational innovation. However, most focused on the configuration of the network from the static network perspective, and few examined the influence of network structure stability on an organization's exploratory innovation from the ego-network perspective. This study addresses this research gap by focusing on ego-network stability and its effect on an organization's exploratory innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical setting is the smartphone collaboration network from 2004 to 2017. We selected one-site schemes and panel data of patents from the Derwent Innovation Database. A negative binomial model with fixed effects was used to test our hypotheses.

Findings

The regression results show that an organization's ego-network stability has an inverted-U-shaped relationship with its exploratory innovation. Global cohesion of the focal organization's knowledge network moderates the process in such a way that when it is at a high level, an organization's exploratory innovation can benefit more from a moderate level of ego-network stability. However, local cohesion moderates in such a way that, at a low level, an organization's exploratory innovation can benefit more from a moderate level of ego-network stability.

Originality/value

This study highlights the importance of ego-network stability and its effect on the focal organization's exploratory innovation. It contributes to the literature on the relationship between ego-network stability and exploratory innovation by investigating the moderating role of global cohesion and local cohesion in knowledge networks.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities - 3102018JCC013; General Program of Humanities and Social Sciences Research of Ministry of Education of China - 20XJA630003; Innovation Foundation for Doctor Dissertation of Northwestern Polytechnical University - CX202012; National Natural Science Foundation of China - 71871182, 71471146, 71501158.

General Program of Humanities and Social Sciences Research of Ministry of Education of China 20XJA630003

Innovation Foundation for Doctor Dissertation of Northwestern Polytechnical University, CX202012

National Natural Science Foundation of China, 71871182, 71471146, 71501158

Citation

Wang, J., Yang, N. and Guo, M. (2021), "Ego-network stability and exploratory innovation: the moderating role of knowledge networks", Management Decision, Vol. 59 No. 6, pp. 1406-1420. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-05-2019-0597

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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