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The Influence of Knowledge Networking, Knowledge Base and Knowledge Strategy on Innovation Capability: An Empirical Research of Taiwan ICT Firms
Cameron M. Ford
|Issue Date: ||2009-09-18 20:07:58 (UTC+8)|
企業回應環境變遷所採行的企業策略可分為積極回應環境的前瞻者〈Prospector〉、固守環境穩定的防衛者〈Defender〉以及兼具前二者部份特色、試圖極大化獲利機會並同時極小化風險的分析者〈Analyzer〉(Miles et al., 1978)。企業回應環境的創新能力從本身具備的技術基礎與滿足市場需求所需具備技術間的差異程度可區分為激進式創新以及漸進式創新。文獻中對於企業創新能力的探討，主要有知識策略以及知識基礎二大觀點，知識策略強調企業回應環境需求變遷程度，設定新產品或服務創新程度、所需的激進式或漸進式創新能力，進而決定投資資源於探索新知識以及運用既有知識專案的比例，經由探索策略以及運用策略，提升企業回應環境需求的創新能力；知識基礎則強調企業的人力資本、組織資本以及社會資本等知識存量是提升企業創新能力的關鍵因素。如何調和知識基礎與知識策略產生正向的交互作用是提升企業創新能力的重要議題 (Cook & Brown, 1999)。
本研究基於實證結果，除在理論上以知識網路定位銜接知識基礎與知識策略顯著提升對於創新能力的解釋力以及從產業創新階段觀點解答目前文獻對於組織知識網路定位的矛盾：同時採行相對創業型定位及相對緊密型網路成效差 (e.g., Koka & Prescott, 2008) vs. 同時採行二種知識網路定位成效好 (e.g., Capaldo, 2007) 外，同時也對實務提出建言：經理人應觀察產業所處的創新階段決定所需要提升的創新能力〈激進式或漸進式〉，盤點知識基礎〈人力資源及組織資本〉，透過知識網路定位〈相對創業型定位或相對緊密型網路〉與知識策略〈相對知識探索或相對知識運用〉的搭配，提升所需的創新能力。
Firms aggressively respond to environmental change through innovations. Radicalness of innovations should be guided by environmental demand, or customers’ requirement. When customers’ requirement changes or is unknown, how do firms explore customers’ requirement becomes a crucial question. Contrarily, when customers’ requirement is known or unchanged and competition emphasizes on product/service quality and cost, how do firms exploit knowledge to increase quality or/and to decrease cost becomes a crucial question (Abernathy & Utterback, 1978). How does an innovative firm successfully adopt a proper knowledge networking which acquires above drivers (i.e., new customer requirement, product quality/cost) and facilitates the firm’s knowledge base and knowledge strategy to increase innovation capability? To what extent of knowledge networking, knowledge bases and knowledge strategies combine to affect firm innovation capability? This study tries to answer these questions.
According to firms’ responsive degree to environmental change, firms can be categorized into Prospectors, Analyzers, and Defenders from a corporate strategy perspective (Miles et al., 1978). ‘Prospectors’ aggressively respond environmental changes, ‘Defenders’ pursue a stable environment, ‘Analyzers’ attempt to minimize risk while they maximize profit. Corporate strategy directs how does a firm respond environmental change and pursue innovation capabilities (Koka & Prescott, 2008). According to discrepancy degree between market demand and firms’ existing technologies base, innovation capabilities which firms pursue can be categorized into radial innovation capability and incremental innovation capability. Two major schools argue different sources of innovation capability. Knowledge-based scholars (e.g., Subramaniam & Youndt, 2005) argue that innovation capability is from firms’ knowledge (e.g., human capital, organization capital and social capital) utilization and accumulation. Contrarily, knowledge strategy scholars (e.g., Atuahene-Gima, 2005) emphasize importance of adaption. Firms are required to adapting to environmental change, setup radicalness of new product or innovation capability, and deicide resources allocating on exploration projects or/and exploitation projects. Firms increase innovation capability through knowledge exploration strategy and knowledge exploitation strategy.
Knowledge-base perspective indicates source of firms’ innovation capability. However, it assumes environment changes slowly or companies are able to dominate environmental change. Contrarily, knowledge strategy perspective indicates direction of firms’ innovation capability for adapting to environment. However, it assumes firms’ knowledge base is fruitful and can be utilized for strategy execution. How does a firm positively interplay knowledge base and knowledge strategy to increase innovation capability is a crucial question (Cook & Brown, 1999).
I review literature and firstly indicate that social capital’s characteristic is different from human capital and organization capital. Different degrees of knowledge networking (relatively entrepreneurial positioning and relatively prominent networking) embedding different social capital (new opportunities and trust) facilitates firms’ new opportunities accessibility to increase innovation capability via knowledge base and knowledge strategy. This research deducts eight hypotheses and builds a model which includes innovation capability (dependent variable), knowledge base and knowledge strategy (independent variable), and knowledge networking (moderating variable).
Further, I conduct a qualitative research and a quantitative research to test the model. I find Sun-2 workstation in 1980s and Amazon.com website innovation cases from databases and elucidate corresponding variables relationships. Then, I collect items which measure variables from premier journals’ articles to generate a survey questionnaire. I send questionnaires to 341 Taiwan ICT firms’ managers. The firms are listed on Taiwan Stock Exchange. Final 69 effective samples are received (return rate = 20.23%). I use PLS to analyze the data and find that most hypotheses are supported. This quantitative research finds that Taiwan ICT firms emphasize on incremental innovation capability, and incremental innovation projects cannibalize radical innovation projects in human capital, knowledge networking influences innovation capability via knowledge base and knowledge strategy.
This research concludes that 1. knowledge networking bridges the gap between knowledge base and knowledge strategy and increases innovation capability, 2. Corresponding knowledge networking, knowledge base, knowledge strategy, and innovation capability on distinct stages of industrial innovation resolves knowledge networking dilemma: A firm which simultaneously adopts relatively entrepreneurial positioning and relatively prominent networking performs worse (e.g., Koka & Prescott, 2008) or better (e.g., Capaldo, 2007), 3. Managers should determine innovation capability portfolio (relatively more radical innovations or relatively more incremental innovations?) by product market’s stages of industrial innovation, check existing knowledge base (human capital and organization capital), adopt corresponding knowledge networking (relatively entrepreneurial positioning or relatively prominent networking), knowledge base and knowledge strategy (relatively exploring knowledge or exploiting knowledge) to increase determinative innovation capability.
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