Managing the Paradoxical Impacts of Search Approach Openness through Information Technologies

Project: Research

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With the touted benefits of enhancing innovativeness and greater financial returns, firms increasingly adopt open innovations by incorporating external knowledge and technologies in their innovation efforts. However, the realization of these benefits is not guaranteed if challenges of open search (i.e., a process through which firms explore and select external partners) are not satisfactorily addressed. Firms often struggle with different approaches of conducting open search. Employing an inappropriate approach could cause the open search process to be time consuming, costly and laborious. Furthermore, partners selected via open search can have idiosyncratic resources and operational styles from the focal firms. Collaborating with these partners may also bring troubles to the focal firms. This project aims to unleash the potential power of open search via three steps. First, we identify three widely adopted approaches of open search with different levels of search approach openness. Second, we unveil the paradoxical effects of search approach openness (i.e., value-enhancing and challenge-increasing) along the progression of open innovation projects: scouting for external partners and working with the partners to integrate the sourced knowledge with its internal R&D team. Third, drawing on the lens of organizational absorptive capacity, we propose how the three IT-enabled knowledge capabilities (i.e. IT-enabled exploratory learning capability, IT-enabled exploitative learning capability, and IT-enabled social integration capability) play different roles in managing the paradoxical effects of search approach openness. Toward this end, we intend to make contributions to the open innovation literature and paradox management research by recognizing and managing the tensions inherent in search approach openness. A deep understanding of the effectiveness of IT-enabled knowledge capabilities can also benefits firms’ managers and relevant policy makers to better support the open innovation initiatives. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected in this project. First, we will collect qualitative data such as onsite observations, interviews and documents to refine our research model and the survey measurement. Second, we will conduct field survey and collect archival data to test the research model.


Project number9048051
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/161/06/17

    Research areas

  • Search approach openness,Paradoxical management,Open innovation,IT-enabled capabilities,