Social Capital and Effective Innovation in Industrial Districts: Dual Effect of Absorptive Capacity

Industry and Innovation (Impact Factor: 0.75). 03/2013; 20(2):157-179. DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2013.771486

ABSTRACT This paper deals with the factors that affect the heterogeneity in the access to knowledge and its exploitation through innovation in firms located in industrial districts. The aim of the study is to analyze the moderating role of the components of the absorptive capacity – identification and combination – in the process that leads firms in industrial districts with social capital to obtain effective innovations through the knowledge acquisition. We have developed the empirical analysis on a sample of 166 firms located in the industrial districts of the footwear industry in Spain. Findings suggest that the firms in industrial districts improve the acquisition of novel and valuable knowledge from external networks of information when they have identification capabilities to explore their potential. The results also indicate combinative capability strengthens the acquired new knowledge to develop and exploit successful innovations.

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