اثرات بین صنعت و تفاوت کشوری در ارتباط با تأمین کنندگان بر نوآوری های پیشرو
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21201||2009||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 29, Issue 12, December 2009, Pages 843–858
Innovations are critical driving forces for firms to engage in corporate growth and new business development. Innovating firms are increasingly generating new knowledge in collaboration with partners. In this paper, we analyze how the knowledge differences between the innovating firms and their suppliers in Canada are likely to result in pioneering innovations. The knowledge difference is decomposed into two dimensions: the inter-industrial dimension and the geographic dimension in national context. Using the Canadian Innovation database, we found the inter-industry difference has a positive effect and the country difference has a negative effect on the likelihood of generating pioneering innovation. The findings of this paper suggest that for generating pioneering innovation, it is important not only to search for suppliers from different industries to get access to various complementary external knowledge sources but also to find suppliers from the same or nearby countries for the sake of communication and coordination.
Innovative firms are increasingly generating new knowledge in collaboration with partners. Studies on strategic management and innovation have recognized that innovation is an interactive, cumulative and cooperative phenomenon occurring between different organizational actors (Powell et al., 1996; Gulati, 1999; Nooteboom, 2000; Freel, 2003; Zaheer and Bell, 2005). A large number of studies have paid attention to the role of strategic alliances and corporate venturing in generating technological innovations (Rothaermel and Deeds, 2004; Hagedoorn and Duysters, 2002). Other scholars have investigated the role of customers in generating innovations (Narver and Slater, 1994; Christensen and Bower, 1996). Complementary to these research efforts, this paper focuses on the role of suppliers as collaborators in the innovation process. More precisely, we analyze how supplier relationships are likely to result in pioneering innovations that are not only technologically novel, but are also first introduced to the world. The novelty of innovations lies in the differences between the component elements, or the novel ways in which these elements are recombined (Nooteboom, 2000). The important role that knowledge differences play in respect of a firm's innovation performance has been widely discussed in the existing innovation literature (e.g., Jaffe and Trajtenberg, 2002; Rosenkopf and Nerkar, 2001; Ahuja and Lampert, 2001; Katila and Ahuja, 2002). Dissimilar external knowledge comes from having different resources, which can be investigated in respect of different dimensions. We focus on two dimensions that might have major influences in explaining the likelihood of pioneering innovations. First, knowledge differences between the innovating firms and their suppliers can be explained by the inter-industry difference between them (Dosi, 1988; Romeo, 1975), which depicts the cognitive dimension of knowledge difference. Second, firms’ geographic localization matters in innovation as well (e.g., Asheim and Isaksen, 2002). Innovating firms and their suppliers do not necessarily originate from the same country. Country difference captures the differences between the national contexts in which firms are located (Phene et al., 2006). Our focus on the roles of inter-industry difference and country difference as sources of dissimilar knowledge in respect of generating pioneering innovations also reflects the call for more insight into the interplay between sectoral and national patterns of innovation, which is still under-developed in the literature (Morgan, 2004). To examine the roles of inter-industry and country difference on pioneering innovation, we confine our research to the relationships between the innovating firm and its suppliers. Besides strategic alliances, corporate venturing and customers, the supplier relationship is an important source of creativity in innovation. Nevertheless, the relationship between supplier involvement and firms’ innovation performance remains unclear in the literature. Research on supplier involvement has addressed the importance of involving key suppliers in new product development projects (e.g., Dyer, 1996, Handfield et al., 1999; LaBahn and Krapfel, 2000; Takeishi, 2001). However, other researchers have found that supplier involvement may not always have a positive effect on new product development project because supplier involvement requires greater complexity for project management (Wynstra, 1998; Wynstra and ten Pierick, 2000). In this paper, we use the knowledge difference perspective to investigate the complexity of the interactions between suppliers and the focal firms’ innovation performance. The central research question of this paper is therefore: What are the effects of sectoral difference and country difference between the innovating firm and its suppliers on a firm's ability to generate pioneering innovations? This article is organized as follows. First, we define pioneering innovations. Second, we provide the theoretical background on sectoral and country dimensions regarding knowledge difference and how suppliers are involved in generating pioneering innovation. Third, we develop several hypotheses based on the existing literature. Next, we present the data and estimation methods with which to test the hypotheses. Finally, we discuss the results and draw conclusions for our research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study investigates the impact of knowledge difference between firms on the likelihood for a firm to generate pioneering innovations. It decomposes the knowledge differences into two dimensions: the industry dimension and the geographic dimension in national context. First, we used the theory of organizational cognitive distance (Nooteboom, 1999 and Nooteboom, 2000) to explain why the inter-industry difference between the innovating firm and its suppliers has a curvilinear effect (inverted U-shape) on the likelihood of pioneering innovations. Our findings have shown that a positive effect of inter-industry difference is rather dominant. Next, the negative impact of country difference in the supplier relationships is expected to be prevailing. On the one hand, innovating firms may need to seek meta-national advantage by choose suppliers globally. On the other hand, due to the sticky knowledge inherent in pioneering innovations, large country difference may hinder the communication and coordination. Our results have shown that the country differences have a negative effect on the likelihood of generating pioneering innovations, which implies that the learning and communication concern may overwhelm the possible positive effect based on the technology specialization across nations. Our study contributes to the existing literature in several ways. First, studies on the influence of knowledge difference between firms usually use patent data to measure technological distance or geographical proximity, which inevitably overlook the distinctive industrial relationships between firms (such as Ahuja and Lampert, 2001; Nerkar and Roberts, 2004; Phene et al., 2006). Other studies that investigate the relationship between customer orientation, supplier involvement and innovation failed to explore the impact of external knowledge differences between firms in multiple dimensions (such as Johnsen et al., 2006). This paper, thus, sheds light on the influence of inter-industry and country difference between the innovating firms and their suppliers on a particular type of innovation—pioneering innovation. The findings of our analysis are not completely in line with the existing literature. They underline that it is important to distinguishing certain types of inter-firm relationships when examining the role of knowledge differences between firms in respect of firms’ innovation performance. Second, this paper explicitly clarifies the definition of ‘pioneering innovation’ at the firm level by recognizing its technological and market novelty. In this way, it avoids the fuzzy use of ‘breakthrough or radical innovation’ as used in other studies (Ahuja and Lampert, 2001; Phene et al., 2006). Next, the findings of our analysis refute the thesis of ‘death of geography’, which claims diminishing differences between nation-states because of the growing role of multinationals and the increasing market globalization (Ohmae, 1990). We found that large country differences between innovating firms and their suppliers hinder the likelihood of creating pioneering innovations. Our findings also provide several important implications for innovation management. First, to enhance the likelihood of generating pioneering innovations, firms need to explore various resources outside of the organizational boundary. Firms should actively search for new knowledge across industry boundaries and geographic locations. Generally speaking, firms should develop and maintain sufficient similarities in searching external knowledge resources along sectoral and geographic dimensions to assure a basic level of absorptive capacity, meanwhile opening up the variety to allow novelty. Second, firms should understand how to differentiate their knowledge searching strategy accordingly in supplier relationships. On the one hand, it is beneficial to search for suppliers from distant industries due to the value of new knowledge elements and new ways of recombination. On the other hand, for the sake of communication, coordination and logistic cost, the innovating firms should choose suppliers from unfamiliar industries that are located in the same, similar or nearby countries. Firms should learn how to combine the effects of inter-industry differences and country differences in supplier relationships and maximize the likelihood to create pioneering innovations. Firms can develop a strategy to enhance innovations by seeking suppliers from unfamiliar industries but preferably in the domestic or neighbouring markets. Our study also has several limitations. First, the data are collected for the period of the 1940s till 1980s, when ICT has not been well developed yet. One can reasonably expect that information and codified knowledge can be easily disseminated and shared by firms over large distance by means of ICT in the 21st century. Thus, to what extent the negative effect of country difference on absorptive capacity may be decreased remains questionable in the new era especially when tacit knowledge is not involved. It will be interesting to test the same hypotheses with more recent data and control for the types of knowledge (tacit vs. codified). Second, the innovating firms in our dataset are all Canadian firms. Thus it is an open question whether our findings can be generalized for firms in other countries. We argued in the previous sections that each country holds its unique endowment for innovation (Nelson, 1991). Studies using data of innovating firms from other countries may increase the generalizability of the findings. Finally, we found that, in general, the coefficients of squared term of inter-industry differences are not significant. This unexpected result could be an artefact as our measure for inter-industry differences using SIC-codes is only a raw proxy. Constrained by the original design of the Canadian survey, we could not develop a more precise measure. Future research that uses other measures to indicate inter-industry difference may deliver a better understanding of the impact of inter-industry difference between innovating firms and their suppliers. Patent data might be a help in that respect.