University of Oulu

Hussain, N., Bhatti, W.A., Khan, S.A., Arslan, A. and Tarba, S.Y. (2022), "Firm absorptive capacity: multidimensionality, drivers and contextual conditions", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 26 No. 10, pp. 2718-2742.

Firm absorptive capacity : multidimensionality, drivers and contextual conditions

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Author: Hussain, Nazim1; Bhatti, Waheed Akbar2; Khan, Sana Akbar3;
Organizations: 1University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
2Aalborg University Business School, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
3Lyon Catholic University, Lyon, France
4Department of Marketing, Management & International Business, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Strategy and International Business, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-04-14


Purpose: This paper aims to enrich absorptive capacity literature by specifically highlighting and adding environmental conditions and internationalisation process to the original conceptualisation.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors undertake a conceptual analysis and present an enhanced framework of absorptive capacity by integrating multiple literature streams. The authors have analysed the most relevant literature to provide underlying justifications for the proposed conceptual model.

Findings: Absorptive capacity ensures the long-term survival and success of a business. To develop absorptive capacity successfully, firms should focus on its various dimensions and existing intangible assets and external environment. The multidimensionality and richness of absorptive capacity is an under-explored area in the existing literature. The authors revisit the conceptualisation of absorptive capacity and add environmental conditions and the internationalisation process to the original conceptualisation. Absorptive capacity does not lead to a competitive advantage independent of its environment. To successfully develop it, firms have to adopt a holistic approach by considering the multi-dimensions, drivers and contextual conditions of absorptive capacity.

Originality/value: This study contributes by conceptualising absorptive capacity as a dynamic capability. It is one of the first studies to specifically propose a framework that combines antecedents (prior knowledge, combinative capabilities and IT capabilities), moderators (environmental conditions, namely, market and technological turbulence, competitiveness and the internationalisation process) and consequences (competitive advantage). The study offers a unique conceptualisation with implications for researchers and managers. As a result, managers will have a well-defined blueprint to create value by using firm capabilities.

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Series: Journal of knowledge management
ISSN: 1367-3270
ISSN-E: 1758-7484
ISSN-L: 1367-3270
Volume: 26
Issue: 10
Pages: 2718 - 2742
DOI: 10.1108/JKM-07-2021-0552
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.