External knowledge diversity, competition intensity and innovation performance in logistics: implications for less versus more innovative industries

Purpose: This paper analyzes the association of searching diversely as a strategy to capture external knowledge and that of competition intensity with innovation in logistics. Secondly it studies how these associations interact by examining whether they intensify or mitigate one another when jointly occur. Thirdly, it is explored whether correlations of search diversity, competition intensity and their interaction effect with logistics innovation demonstrate differences in their strength depending on logistics innovativeness of target industries.
Design/methodology/approach: By discriminating between diversifying and expanding search scope, a new search mode is identified which is more precise in examining diversity of acquired external knowledge in comparison to search breadth. External search diversity is formulated based on a classification of external sources according to similarities in their knowledge supply. Quantile regression is applied for the purpose of this study due to its ability in estimating different models in different quantiles of the response variable.
Findings: While positive trends are found for both antecedents, their mutual occurrence partially mitigates their individual positive relations with logistics innovation. All correlations demonstrate dynamic patterns. The strength of these correlations varies between industries with low logistics innovation rates compared to the ones with higher rates. Search diversity illustrates its highest correlation in the least innovative industries whereases competition intensity contributes the most to logistics innovation, in higher innovative ones. Their interaction effect exhibits similar patterns to those of search diversity.
Originality: The role of external knowledge management in logistics innovation and its interaction with competition intensity as a synergetic antecedent is studied for the first time in this paper in the open innovation framework.


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