Open innovation, network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability

Shaojie Han (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Yibo Lyu (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Ruonan Ji (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Yuqing Zhu (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Jingqin Su (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Lining Bao (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 14 October 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims at developing a better understanding of the relationship between network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability and further examines the moderating effect of open innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts hierarchical regressions to validate the theoretical model and collect the patent data of the top 54 firm patentees in the smartphone industry as empirical sample. Using patent citation network data, this paper estimates the relationship between open innovation, network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability.

Findings

This paper empirically shows that structural embeddedness exerts a negative effect on incremental innovation capability, while relational embeddedness is positively related to incremental innovation capability. And open innovation strengthens the relationship between network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability.

Originality/value

This paper shifts the focus of the determinants of incremental innovation capability from internal factors to the external network features by exploring the linkage between network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability. A counterintuitive conclusion is that structural embeddedness shows a negative effect on firm's incremental innovation capability. Furthermore, in contrast to most previous studies, which only focus on the direct effect of open innovation on the firm's incremental innovation capability, our study examines the moderating effect of open innovation on the relationships between network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability. At last, the results provide practical guidance for firms to occupy the beneficial network positions and adopt appropriate open innovation strategies to improve their incremental innovation capability.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 71572026 and 71632004. Shaojie Han is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology. His research focuses on innovation management, particularly on technological innovation and growth in emerging industries. Yibo Lyu is an associate professor and deputy director of the Institute of Enterprise Management at the School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from the Dalian University of Technology. His research focuses on innovation management, particularly on technological innovation and growth in emerging industries. Ruonan Ji is currently working toward a master’s degree at the School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology. Her current interest focuses on technology innovation and firm growth. Yuqing Zhu is currently working toward a master’s degree at the School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology. Her current research interest focuses on technology innovation and firm growth. Jingqin Su is a professor and director of the China Management Case Sharing Center at the School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from the Dalian University of Technology. His research focuses on innovation management. Lining Bao is currently working toward a master’s degree at the School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology. Her current research interest focuses on technology innovation and firm growth.

Citation

Han, S., Lyu, Y., Ji, R., Zhu, Y., Su, J. and Bao, L. (2020), "Open innovation, network embeddedness and incremental innovation capability", Management Decision, Vol. 58 No. 12, pp. 2655-2680. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-08-2019-1038

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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