The roles of absorptive capacity and cultural balance for exploratory and exploitative innovation in SMEs

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This study investigates whether balanced forms of organizational cultures moderate the effects of potential and realized absorptive capacities (ACs) to simultaneously generate exploratory and exploitative innovations. Using empirical survey data collected from 138 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we applied partial least squares (PLS) structural equation modeling (SEM) combined with mediation and moderation analyses to test our hypotheses. Our results show that the effects of potential AC on organizations' exploratory and exploitative innovations are fully mediated by the organizations' realized AC. The positive effects of realized AC on innovation are contingent on the overall cultural balance of the organization, which, however, does not affect the strong link between potential AC and realized AC. We thus provide novel empirical insights into the multi-dimensional nature of AC and the importance of cultural equilibrium for both exploratory and exploitative innovation, which is of particular importance for ambidextrous SMEs facing dynamic markets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137 - 153
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502
  • 502030 Project management
  • 502050 Business informatics
  • 504007 Empirical social research
  • 102015 Information systems
  • 508
  • 107007 Risk research

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