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A Capability‐Based Framework for Open Innovation: Complementing Absorptive Capacity

Ulrich Lichtenthaler and Eckhard Lichtenthaler

Journal of Management Studies, 2009, vol. 46, issue 8, 1315-1338

Abstract: We merge research into knowledge management, absorptive capacity, and dynamic capabilities to arrive at an integrative perspective, which considers knowledge exploration, retention, and exploitation inside and outside a firm's boundaries. By complementing the concept of absorptive capacity, we advance towards a capability‐based framework for open innovation processes. We identify the following six ‘knowledge capacities’ as a firm's critical capabilities of managing internal and external knowledge in open innovation processes: inventive, absorptive, transformative, connective, innovative, and desorptive capacity. ‘Knowledge management capacity’ is a dynamic capability, which reconfigures and realigns the knowledge capacities. It refers to a firm's ability to successfully manage its knowledge base over time. The concept may be regarded as a framework for open innovation, as a complement to absorptive capacity, and as a move towards understanding dynamic capabilities for managing knowledge. On this basis, it contributes to explaining interfirm heterogeneity in knowledge and alliance strategies, organizational boundaries, and innovation performance.

Date: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:46:y:2009:i:8:p:1315-1338