Absorptive capacity, relational learning and organizational culture in a knowledge management contextthree essays on their influences in the innovation outcomes

  1. Leal Rodríguez, Antonio Luis
Supervised by:
  1. José L. Roldán Director
  2. José Antonio Ariza Montes Director

Defence university: Universidad de Sevilla

Fecha de defensa: 24 November 2014

  1. Emilio Pablo Díez de Castro Chair
  2. Gabriel A. Cepeda Carrión Secretary
  3. María del Mar Fuentes Fuentes Committee member
  4. Juan Gabriel Cegarra Navarro Committee member
  5. Stephen Eldridge Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 371424 DIALNET lock_openIdus editor


It has also been generally accepted that both of explicit and tacit components of organizational knowledge play an important role in innovation (Hall and Andriani, 2003). With the emergence of knowledge management (KM) as a new discipline, connecting knowledge management and innovation becomes a requirement. However, there are few studies that address the relationship between KM and innovation. For instance, Johannessen et al. (1999) argued at theoretical level that a high degree of innovation presupposes organizational learning systems which develop, integrate and use knowledge in the practical context. Hall and Andriani (2003) have studied managing knowledge associated with interorganizational innovation, identified knowledge gaps in innovative firms. In another way, Jang et al. (2002), in their study of process innovation at Samsung Company, described the relationship between the knowledge produced during process innovation activities and the organizational knowledge management. All these studies have provided abundant information on the relationship between knowledge management concepts and innovative concepts. However, have failed to explain the impact of this relationship on the performance and success of the innovation process. Despite its importance, little or no research exists about how organizations¿ relational learning may affect the relationship between knowledge management and innovation outcomes, and little is known about how relational learning (RL) influences the deployment of a firm¿s existing knowledge base and thereby facilitates innovation. Moreover, an investigation of the role of relational learning may refine our conceptual understanding of the knowledge-innovation link. According to Cohen and Levinthal¿s (1990) theory, the ability to exploit external knowledge is critical in the process of obtaining innovation outcomes and it is a function of the level of prior related knowledge. Thus, a company¿s absorptive capacity is understood as an organizational ability that enables knowledge to be converted into new products, services or processes to support innovation. Absorptive capacity (AC) has been commonly linked to innovation. Furthermore, it has been considered as a pivotal source of innovation success (Chang and Cho, 2008; Lynn, Reilly and Akgün, 2000). Firms with a strong absorptive capacity are able to absorb or acquire newly-generated knowledge, combine it with their prior related knowledge and use it in the innovation process. Our doctoral dissertation will focus on three objectives: the link between firms' absorptive capacity and their innovation activities, and simultaneously assesses the moderating roles of relational learning and cultural barriers on the AC-IO link. This focus will provide the main theoretical and empirical contribution of this doctoral thesis.