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Key variables mentioned in the Relationship Marketing literature on exchanges between businesses and NGOs. Source : The authors..
Key variables mentioned in the Relationship Marketing literature on exchanges between businesses and other NPOs. Note : The solid arrows indicate direct positive relationships and the dashed arrow direct negative relationships between the given pair of variables. Figure 1. Table 4. Articles included in the meta-analysis. Table 5. Results of the meta-analysis. Table 6. Summary of the main results. The mean correlation found is significant. Annex 1. Sample data 4 4 A list of the references of the articles used in this meta-empirical analysis is available upon request from the authors.
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Chamberlin then delineates three intellectual methods that have driven the progress of science: the method of ruling theory, the method of the working hypothesis and the method of multiple working hypotheses. He argues convincingly for the universal adoption of the last method in his paper. He expresses his concern for the ensuing detrimental research cycle: an initial precipitate explanation, which gradually evolves into a tentative theory, becomes an adopted theory and finally reaches the dubious status of the ruling theory.
Evoking analogies not often found in contemporary academic literature, he points out that research — similar to love — can suffer from the tendency to blindness.
This article argues that based on the recent developments in the literature, an extension to theories of the firm from resources and knowledge to innovation, as the primary driver of competitive advantage, is now opportune. Now, I will discuss this point further. When Cyert and March proposed their behavioural theory of the firm in , they were of the opinion that the theory of the firm should be connected to what is actually happening in firms.
While RBV, KBV and dynamic capabilities are cognisant of the operation of a firm, this paper argues that its recent evolution due to ICT and open innovation paradigms requires a new conceptual framework. Consequently, the incumbent theories of the firm need to be supplemented by an IBV, a perspective that is more in tune with recent developments in the literature and the realities of practice. The argument is summarised in the following proposition:. An innovation-based theory of the firm considers the ability to ethically manage and use internal and external innovation as the most strategically significant resource of the firm.
The capability to manage the complexities, paradoxes and openness of innovation is an antecedent in achieving sustainable competitive advantage for a firm whether the firm is for-profit or not-for-profit. I now discuss the definition in more detail. I argue that the present milieu that a firm is operating in precludes it from being a completely closed system. The term openness has been recently explored by Almirall and Casadesus-Masanell and I believe that the topic is fertile for further research.
Innovation will only be successful in a firm and a source of competitive advantage if it has the capability to manage inherent paradoxes and opposing logics. While managing paradoxes and openness can be sources of competitive advantage, resolving the dilemma of initiation and implementation is fundamental to the innovation process.
My aim is to reinstate the work of Wilson and Zaltman et al. Furthermore, their theoretical studies of the and 70s are confirmed by recent contention that the later stages of the innovation process are most difficult and time consuming Birkinshaw et al. The most tangible area for innovation involves the development and introduction of products and services. There has been a significant move to delivering solutions in recent years, whereby customers have migrated from ordering products and services to ordering solutions. This has involved major firms especially in the ICT industry positioning themselves as solution providers where the customers describe the offering they require, while the company looks after the technicalities.
Pricing is then done by functionality rather than hardware and software content. Another technological area that is affecting the milieu of the firm is servitisation Dimache and Roche, In the current global economy, manufacturers are under pressure to adapt continuously to the ever-changing business environment e.
Manufacturers can no longer rely on the traditional product-focused business models; they need to be highly adaptive and innovative in order to compete. Dodgson et al. They have used an umbrella term — innovation technology IvT — to describe these new tools and methods. IvT, they argue, is being increasingly applied to innovation and, indeed, is dramatically changing the nature of the innovation process. They describe their schema of the application of IvT to the innovation process in terms of three characteristics: thinking, playing and doing.
Finally, they argue that the IvT enablement of thinking, playing and doing is a major support to organisations in dealing with disruptive innovation doing things differently and incremental innovation doing existing things better. These ideas were used as guiding principles for the development of the theory.
The constructs used in this theory-building process are presented in Table 2. This conceptualisation is proposed in Figure 3. Testing out the IBV hypothesis in the field will be a challenge for future work. The initial fieldwork and research that preceded this paper consisted of a 2-year longitudinal study of innovation in a multinational subsidiary.
The details of implementing such a perspective are suitable for further work. It is also argued that the method can facilitate the further generation of theory as presented in this study. The inclusion of ethics in the theory building and IBV definition was a response to the virtual absence of any reference to this fundamental philosophical topic in the analysis of the innovation definitions in the literature. The paper is limited in that the approach of abduction involves the conceiving theory and, as such, is open to the criticisms inherent in such an endeavour.
More work is required to examine what IBV entails and to provide a more comprehensive explanation of its consequences. However, I consider that this initial paper was required to set out the landscape that needs further exploration. According to Damanpour et al. Management innovation is an area ripe for research stimuli, which, I argue, must be underpinned by a strong theoretical basis.
KBV, RBV and dynamic capabilities are influential theories of the firm used in business and management research. The review has indicated that a growing body of literature points to innovation as the principal source of competitive advantage. Innovation is putting knowledge into action and has a link to absorptive capacity Tsai, It is more than just acquiring knowledge.
Viewing the firm now must be carried out by a two-headed Janus, looking inward and outward. Furthermore, the paper makes a significant academic contribution by providing an example of initiating theory using abduction. Consequently, an IBV of the firm is proposed as a novel contribution to theory.
Using the influential paper of Thomas Chamberlin as a starting point, the theory has been developed using abduction as originally proposed by Peirce and more recently presented to the management discipline by Van de Ven. Such underpinning is required to advance a strong research agenda, particularly in nascent areas such as management innovation, which is beginning to receive attention from scholars Mol and Birkinshaw, Future work is required to develop the insights of this paper using deductive logic and, following this, testing of the theory using induction.
I hope that this paper can stimulate some debate on the contemporary nature of the firm as well as competitive advantage. Introduction There continues to be a lively debate in the literature on the nature of the firm and sources of competitive advantage Klein et al. Theories of the firm Theories of the firm are conceptualisations and models of business enterprises, which explain and predict their structures and behaviours Grant, Linking knowledge and innovation Theories adhering to the KBV tend to emphasise the ensuing advantages to firms by way of knowledge acquisition and sharing activities.
Table 1 Some important contributions to innovation studies Date Source Contribution s Schumpeter Introduced the concept to social studies s Wilson The innovation dilemma s Zaltman et al. Contingency theory s Walton Pettigrew Van de Ven et al. Interaction of individual, organisational and environmental features Interplay among context, content and process Minnesota studies s Slappendel Innovation perspectives s Fagerberg Oxford handbook of innovation.
The digitalisation of the firm The spectacular growth of the internet, ubiquity of networking, globalisation of business and evolution of information economies has resulted in novel business processes and new ways of sharing knowledge. Research approach: Theory development In research across almost every discipline, there is a diaspora of underlying theories, along with many applications, implementations and adaptations of those theories.
Clarity One of the most fundamental attributes of a concept is that it is clearly communicated and understandable Dubin, , ; Metcalfe, ; Weick, Cumulative tradition A good concept or theory should cumulatively build on existing research Dubin, , yet this is something that, e.
Parsimony Authoritative works on concept development usually advocate a parsimonious approach, removing any factors that provide little additional value to our understanding Whetten, Van de Ven describes abduction as follows: Abduction is a creative form of reasoning that is triggered by encountering anomalies and ends by selecting a plausible or coherent solution that might resolve the anomaly. Discussion When Cyert and March proposed their behavioural theory of the firm in , they were of the opinion that the theory of the firm should be connected to what is actually happening in firms.
The argument is summarised in the following proposition: An innovation-based theory of the firm considers the ability to ethically manage and use internal and external innovation as the most strategically significant resource of the firm. Providing an all-encompassing classification of the concept is indeed a lofty undertaking. Hence, the proposed taxonomy of IBV was glued together from the exploration of the concepts of innovation , theory and nature of the firm.
Cumulative Tradition The cumulative tradition of scholarship on innovation, from its origins in the work of Schumpeter and developed over the past number of decades, was synthesised in the literature review and an attempt was made to summarise its evolution in Table 1. However, the author is conscious of the justifiable criticism of such an undertaking considering the volume of studies. Also, IBV was placed in the development of the managerial theories of the firm originating from scholars such as Edith Penrose.
Parsimony The definition of innovation was developed from an investigation and parsing of many antecedent definitions. There was much duplication and redundancy in the resulting spreadsheet containing the main concepts uncovered during the analysis. Consequently, the IBV proposed in the study is a concise formulation that facilitates future investigation and empirical studies. Applicability This study argued that developments in ICT and the nature of the firm have resulted in the incumbent theories of the firm having limited applicability in the current business landscape.