Session 224

Absorptive Capacity

Track I

Date: Monday, October 8, 2012


Time: 16:30 – 17:45


Room: Club A

Session Chair:

  • Justin Jansen, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Title: Absorptive Capacity, Environmental Conditions, and Successful Innovation: An Empirical Study


  • Josune Saenz, University of Deusto
  • Nagore Ageitos Varela, University of Deusto
  • Nekane Aramburu Goya, University of Deusto

Abstract: Although absorptive capacity (AC) has been one of the most cited and used constructs to emerge in the management literature, a consensus has not yet been reached on the specific dimensions underlying this construct. Considering this, the aim of this paper is twofold. In the first place, we will revisit the concept of AC, trying to reconcile apparently conflicting views and proposing a new definition of the concept which is grounded on major contributions made to date. We will then report on a research in medium-high and high-technology firms from the Basque Region (Spain) that tries to analyze the influence of AC on technological innovation performance (both radical and incremental), considering the moderating effect of various contextual factors, such as environmental dynamism, rivalry, and appropriability regimes.

Title: Clustered Firms Social Interactions and Absorptive Capacity Imbalance


  • Bárbara Larrañeta, Pablo de Olavide University
  • Shaker Zahra, University of Minnesota
  • J Luís Galán, Pablo de Olavide University

Abstract: This study examines whether and how the intensity and type of social interactions among cluster members offer clustered firms varying learning incentives to unevenly develop their absorptive capacity dimensions. We conceptualize this crucial capability for firms to benefit from external knowledge as composed by two dimensions: potential and realized. Using a sample of 140 new ventures from 7 territorial clusters, we find that when firms are strongly integrated in the cluster the intensity of interactions between firms within the cluster encourage them to emphasize their realized over their potential absorptive capacity, and that on the contrary, the intensity of interactions between firms and cluster institutions drives their potential over realized absorptive capacity. These findings do not hold when firms are poorly integrated in the cluster.

Title: Institutional Voids and the Development of Absorptive Capacity in Emerging Economies


  • Charlene Nicholls-Nixon, Ryerson University
  • José Antonio Dávila, IPADE

Abstract: This conceptual paper examines the relationship between macro-level institutional conditions and the development of firm-level absorptive capacity (ACAP). Building on the economics branch of Institutional Theory, Mexico is used as the context for examining how institutional voids influence the ability of firms to identify, assimilate, transform and exploit external knowledge. Descriptive case studies of three successful ‘outlier’ firms are used to illustrate strategic responses that have enabled Mexican firms to overcome the institutional constraints that create barriers to the development of absorptive capacity. The paper suggests directions for future ACAP research aimed at enriching our understanding of the antecedents and consequences of absorptive capacity in emerging economies.

Title: National Context, Organizational Routines and Absorptive Capacity: A Latin American Perspective


  • Charlene Nicholls-Nixon, Ryerson University

Abstract: This conceptual paper examines how national context influences the development of firm-level absorptive capacity (ACAP). It extends current research, which suggests that ACAP is a dynamic capability whose expression is determined by the organizational routines used to identify, acquire, assimilate and integrate external knowledge. Building on the premise that organizational routines and practices are contextually embedded, it draws on Latin American management research to explain how common attributes of national context (geographic, historic, economic, political, social and cultural) influence the organizational routines associated with the development of firm-level ACAP. These relationships suggest promising directions for future multi-level research aimed at explaining why firm-level ACAP varies across countries and how these differences influence innovative performance at the firm and national levels.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 274: Knowledge Foundations: A Conversation with Robert Grant about the Knowledge Based View
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 273: Big Data, Knowledge and Innovation
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 275: The Changing Nature of Innovation in Emerging Economies
Sun: 15:15 – 16:30
Session 225: Intellectual Property Rights
Session 229: Structure and Innovation
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 223: Individuals, Teams and Innovation
Session 242: R&D
Mon: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 140: Knowledge Management & Knowledge Structures: Who knows?
Session 226: Technology
Session 235: Learning
Mon: 13:30 – 14:45
Session 222: Integrating Knowledge about Knowledge Integration
Session 227: Knowledge Transfer and Replication
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 224: Absorptive Capacity
Session 236: Innovation and Performance
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 230: Ties, Networks, and Innovation
Session 237: Open Innovation
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 228: Exploration
Session 231: Alliance and Transfer
Tue: 14:15 – 15:30
Session 234: Incumbent Response to Foreign Entry and to Disruptive Innovation
Session 240: Capabilities
Tue: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 233: Structure and Transfer
Session 243: Entrepreneurs, Ventures, and Innovation
Tue: 17:30 – 18:45
Session 232: Innovation and Transfer
Session 239: Ambidexterity / Exploration and Exploitation
Session 244: Knowledge Management

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