Extending organizational antecedents of absorptive capacity: Organizational characteristics that encourage experimentation

Ana Luiza de Araújo Bucharth, Christopher Lettl, John Parm Ulhøi

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Absorptive capacity has generally been perceived as a "passive" outcome of R&D investments. Recently, however, a renewed debate on its "proactive" dimensions has emerged.We tap into this development and complement the existing discussion on combinative capabilities with a perspective that focuses on organizational characteristics that encourage experimentation. Specifically, we argue that characteristics such as slack resources, tolerance for failure, willingness to cannibalize and external openness are important organizational antecedents for knowledge absorption activities as they prevent inertia. Drawing on multi-informant survey data collected from SMEs in Denmark (n = 169), we find empirical support for the impact of these characteristics (except for tolerance for failure) on various aspects of absorptive capacity (both potential and realized). Before concluding, we discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of our study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269 - 284
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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