Exploratory versus exploitative innovation: SME performance implications of managerial ties and empowering leadership in China

Zhengyang Wu, Xiaobao Peng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

While exploration and exploitation represent two fundamentally different approaches to organisational innovation, recent literature has increasingly indicated the need for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to manage these approaches. This study examines the linkages of managerial ties to exploratory and exploitative innovation and explores the moderating effects of empowering leadership on the linkages. The study results suggest that the positive relationship between political ties and exploratory innovation is weakened by empowering leadership, while the relationship between business ties and exploratory innovation is moderated positively by empowering leadership. Moreover, the study also finds that the positive relationship between business ties and exploitative innovation is strengthened by empowering leadership, while the moderating role of empowering leadership on the linkage between political ties and exploitative innovation is not significant. This study enriches the literature on social network theories and situational leadership theories in the Chinese context. Analyses of a sample of Chinese SMEs largely support our hypotheses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-341
Number of pages29
JournalAsian Journal of Technology Innovation
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding:
This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant number
71202054]; Introduces Talents for Scientific Research and Starts Special Fund Project of University
of Science and Technology of China [grant number KY2160000003]; Anhui Province Philosophy
and Social Science Planning Project [grant number AHSKY2019D025].

Research programs

  • ESHCC M&C

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