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The Pandora's box of social integration mechanisms Can they make it more difficult to realize absorptive capacity?

The Pandora's box of social integration mechanisms Can they make it more difficult to realize... Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to perform empirical tests to explore the influence of social integration mechanisms on organizations’ absorptive capacities theorized by Zahra and George. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses a cross‐sectional design to test the relationships between potential absorptive capacity, three social integration mechanisms (cross‐functional teams, participation in decision making, and self‐managing teams), and realized absorptive capacity, in a sample of 92 organizations that bid competitively to provide products and services to a US university. Findings – An organization's use of cross‐functional teams is negatively related to its realized absorptive capacity and negatively moderates the relationship between potential and realized absorptive capacity. Self‐managing teams negatively moderate the relationship between an organization's potential absorptive capacity and its realized absorptive capacity. Research limitations/implications – The cross‐sectional design allows tests of relatedness but does not support cause‐and‐effect inferences. Practical implications – Managers who follow the prescriptive implications of using social integration mechanisms to enhance their organization's absorptive capacity may actually hinder it. The type of social integration mechanism is an important consideration for managers of firm strategies. Originality/value – This study extends and challenges the literature on absorptive capacity through its empirical analysis of the role of social integration mechanisms on an organization's absorptive capacity. Social integration mechanisms can have mixed moderating effects on the absorptive capacity development process, and potential absorptive capacity is not easily transformed into realized absorptive capacity. This study expands the context of absorptive capacity beyond R&D settings and incorporates a task environment that allows a direct linking of inputs and outputs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Strategy and Management Emerald Publishing

The Pandora's box of social integration mechanisms Can they make it more difficult to realize absorptive capacity?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1755-425X
DOI
10.1108/17554251311296530
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to perform empirical tests to explore the influence of social integration mechanisms on organizations’ absorptive capacities theorized by Zahra and George. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses a cross‐sectional design to test the relationships between potential absorptive capacity, three social integration mechanisms (cross‐functional teams, participation in decision making, and self‐managing teams), and realized absorptive capacity, in a sample of 92 organizations that bid competitively to provide products and services to a US university. Findings – An organization's use of cross‐functional teams is negatively related to its realized absorptive capacity and negatively moderates the relationship between potential and realized absorptive capacity. Self‐managing teams negatively moderate the relationship between an organization's potential absorptive capacity and its realized absorptive capacity. Research limitations/implications – The cross‐sectional design allows tests of relatedness but does not support cause‐and‐effect inferences. Practical implications – Managers who follow the prescriptive implications of using social integration mechanisms to enhance their organization's absorptive capacity may actually hinder it. The type of social integration mechanism is an important consideration for managers of firm strategies. Originality/value – This study extends and challenges the literature on absorptive capacity through its empirical analysis of the role of social integration mechanisms on an organization's absorptive capacity. Social integration mechanisms can have mixed moderating effects on the absorptive capacity development process, and potential absorptive capacity is not easily transformed into realized absorptive capacity. This study expands the context of absorptive capacity beyond R&D settings and incorporates a task environment that allows a direct linking of inputs and outputs.

Journal

Journal of Strategy and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 15, 2013

Keywords: Self managing teams; Team working; Absorptive capacity; Social integration mechanisms; Competitive advantage; Cross‐functional teams; Participate decision making

References