Rationality, Social Identities, and Technological Opportunism as Organizational Capabilities to Adopt Environmental and Social Innovations


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date1 Aug 2022


Immoderate population growth along with an unprecedented and unbalanced global economic development have contributed to the current deterioration of our biosphere and the disruption of social structures. The manifold consequences of climate change and global recessions are impelling millions into poverty. Impoverishment imputes social and environmental costs on individuals fundamentally through material, ecological, and psychological deprivation. As a consequence, governmental institutions and private companies have embarked upon the development of breakthrough innovations to contend with the deterioration of the ecosystem, poverty, and social inequalities.

This dissertation aims to address imperative questions on the function and value of specific organizational capabilities as strategic mechanisms to stimulate and facilitate the adoption of environmental and social innovations. Notwithstanding the tremendous scientific advancement previous research provides, examining dynamic capabilities and social identities as strategic antecedents of social and green innovation is still scant. More importantly, empirical evidence of the underlying drivers to adopt such innovations among firms in emerging economies is scarce. This thesis provides a minor contribution to this effort through three essays.

The first chapter proposes a psychobiological framework of rationality to exploit natural resources in a sustainable manner. The second chapter empirically examines the influence of technological opportunism on the adoption of green innovation among manufacturing companies in China.

The third chapter offers an integrative definition of social innovation developed from a systematic review of the literature. In order to specify the domain of the construct, assess its face validity, and delimit its ontological capacity, in-depth interviews and one pilot study were conducted. As a result, we present a systematic scale to measure the implementation of social innovation. By use of these novel items, we provide empirical evidence of the relationship between global and local identities on proactive work behavior as an organizational mechanism to adopt social innovations in China.