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Flexibility and innovation: moderator effects of cooperation and dynamism

Ángel Martínez-Sánchez (Direccion y Organizacion de Empresas, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Maria-Jose Vela-Jimenez (Direccion y Organizacion de Empresas, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Silvia Abella-Garces (Direccion y Organizacion de Empresas, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Sophie Gorgemans (Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 5 August 2019

Issue publication date: 23 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze simultaneously two moderator effects on a model of relationships between external human resource (HR) flexibility and innovation in a large sample of manufacturing firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The study sample consisted of 1,864 Spanish industrial firms in 2012 compiled from a large set of statements from the Survey of Business Strategies questionnaire. Logit and linear regressions tested the moderator effects of inter-organizational technology cooperation and environmental (market) dynamism in the relationship between external HR flexibility and innovation performance. To control for multicollinearity the Lance’s residual centering technique was used.

Findings

Process innovations seemed to be dependent on industry while innovative firms have developed a greater flexibility than non-innovative firms. Some moderator effects were found regarding inter-organizational cooperation while the market dynamism was negatively related to the measures of innovation with absence of moderator effects.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies should integrate more moderator effects that may influence the relationship between external HR flexibility and the firm’s innovation performance. The results regarding the influences of external flexibility on innovation have to be differentiated as inter-organizational technological cooperation compensated the influence of external workplace flexibility on innovation.

Practical implications

Managers should use a right mix of external flexibility measures according to the inter-organizational cooperation but regardless the level of environmental dynamism.

Originality/value

This paper is original in the sense that it studies the relationship between external HR flexibility and innovation with the simultaneous moderator effect of inter-organizational technology cooperation and market dynamism. The value of the paper lies in the discussion of interrelated moderator effects in order to propose adequate strategies to develop external HR flexibility.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors greatly appreciate the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Grant ECO2014-56912-R), and the access to the Survey of Business Strategies provided by the SEPI Foundation and the Spanish Ministry of Industry.

Citation

Martínez-Sánchez, Á., Vela-Jimenez, M.-J., Abella-Garces, S. and Gorgemans, S. (2019), "Flexibility and innovation: moderator effects of cooperation and dynamism", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 6, pp. 1548-1564. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-12-2017-0397

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited