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Game of skill or game of luck? Distant search in response to performance feedback

Tijdschriftbijdrage - e-publicatie

Despite its strategic benefits, there is persistent heterogeneity across firms to what extent they engage in distant search activities. According to the default prediction of behavioral theory of the firm (BTF), poor past performance will increase a firm's propensity for distant search, whereas good performance will lead to a decrease. However, a contrasting view is taken within the emerging capability cue perspective, which predicts the opposite. To understand these conflicting views, we emphasize the key role of context that is formed by a firm's sectoral innovation pattern and shapes the dominant cognition of firms' managers. Building on this sectoral innovation perspective and Pavitt's seminal work (1984; 1995) we distinguish between a science-based innovation pattern (here, we focus on the semi-conductor industry) and a specialized-supplier innovation pattern (we focus on the machinery industry). The key claim we make is that different sectoral innovation patterns shape other dominant managerial cognitions, leading to a different interpretation of past performance that influences the decision to increase or decrease distant search. Our paper contributes to an understanding of how the competing ideas on different ways in which firms respond to feedback, in view of distant search, can be reconciled. We also contribute to the literature on technological innovation by considering the role of managerial cognition and how differences therein can be associated with different firm choices on their distant search activities.
Tijdschrift: Technovation
ISSN: 0166-4972
Volume: 121
Pagina's: 1 - 13
Jaar van publicatie:2023
Trefwoorden:A1 Journal article