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Title: The interaction between external and internal knowledge sources: an open innovation view
Authors: Díaz-Díaz, Nieves L. 
de Saá-Pérez, Petra 
UNESCO Clasification: 5306 Economía del cambio tecnológico
Keywords: Innovaciones tecnológicas
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: 1367-3270
Journal: Journal of Knowledge Management 
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to study the external sources of knowledge that better exploit internal knowledge in order to innovate. Design/methodology/approach: A balanced panel of 1,266 firms that respond to the Survey of Business Strategies for a five-year period was used, which represents a total of 6,330 observations. Findings: The influence of the absorptive capacity on new products is significant, with an inverted U-shaped relationship. The interaction between external sources of knowledge and firm's absorptive capacity has a negative effect on innovation up to a certain level (substitution effect), after which that interaction improves the innovation of firms, displaying a complementary effect. Practical implications: Firms with excess of internal sources of knowledge do not obtain better innovative results because overtime firms tend to inertia and need external sources of knowledge to obtain new knowledge. Firms must be conscious that the effect on innovation of using a strategy of external knowledge acquisition could be different depending on their internal knowledge base level. Thus, those firms that select their strategies to combine knowledge appropriately will have better results. Originality/value: This paper reveals that the positive effect of internal sources of knowledge on innovation decline after it reaches a high level because those firms with strong absorptive capacity may enter a state of organizational inertia that reduces their innovation. This research enhances the importance of identifying each of the external knowledge sources likely to be used, since their influence on innovation differs depending on the level of internal knowledge. Finally, this study is based on panel data models, which allows us to control unobservable heterogeneity improving earlier studies that had to rely on cross-sectional data.
ISSN: 1367-3270
DOI: 10.1108/JKM-07-2013-0257
Source: Journal of Knowledge Management[ISSN 1367-3270],v. 18, p. 430-446
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