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Essays on innovation performance

Book - Dissertation

Technological innovation is crucial for firms’ future success and highly depends on those firms’ ability to continuously discover, develop and commercialize new technologies. Developing new technologies does not only play a vital role in firms’ adaptation to changing competitive environments, but also revolutionizes incessantly the economic structure through destroying the old one. Research by economists and management scholars has long argued and empirically shown that technological innovation is positively associated with superior financial performance. Unsurprisingly, foremost innovative firms are also the most valuable firms by market capitalization. However, despite the fact that innovation is widely recognized as being crucial for firms’ overall organizational performance, firms still tremendously differ in terms of their innovation performance. Although previous research has endeavored to explain differences in innovation performance with firms’ unique internal organizational attributes (e.g., organizational structure and processes, governance and incentive systems) and environments’ unique characteristics (e.g., market structure, market and technological uncertainty), there is still a need to understand the behavioral perspectives of the variation in innovation performance across different firms. Therefore, in this dissertation we focus on the role of individuals in explaining how firms successfully transform innovation inputs into innovation outputs, which has only marginally been subject to inquiry in the literature until now. By focusing on the behavioral aspects of firms’ innovation performance, we propose and show that strategic choices at top management team level and knowledge recombination at individual invention level have strong implications for ultimate innovation performance. This dissertation contains three empirical studies. The first study (Chapter 2) focuses on firms’ innovation performance aspirations formed by boundedly rational top managers and their influence on ultimate strategic choices in sourcing technological knowledge, which is important to resolve internal R&D difficulties. The second study (Chapter 3) examines how top managers’ education and experience affect their firms’ alliance portfolio diversity and how this diversity provides implications for these firms’ innovation performance. Finally, the third study (Chapter 4) considers the possibility that differences in innovation performance do not depend only on top managers’ strategic choices, but also on knowledge recombination of individual inventions at lower echelons. Therefore, it focuses on knowledge recombination patterns and endeavors to explain why certain inventions reach bigger audiences compared to others.
Number of pages: 215
Keywords:Doctoral thesis