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One foot in, one foot out: how does individuals' external search breadth affect innovation outcomes?

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Title: One foot in, one foot out: how does individuals' external search breadth affect innovation outcomes?
Authors: Dahlander, L
O'Mahony, S
Gann, DM
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The “variance hypothesis” predicts that external search breadth leads to innovation outcomes, but people have limited attention for search and cultivating breadth consumes attention. How does individuals' search breadth affect innovation outcomes? How does individuals' allocation of attention affect the efficacy of search breadth? We matched survey data with complete patent records, to examine the search behaviors of elite boundary spanners at IBM. Surprisingly, individuals who allocated attention to people inside the firm were more innovative. Individuals with high external search breadth were more innovative only when they allocated more attention to those sources. Our research identifies limits to the “variance hypothesis” and reveals two successful approaches to innovation search: “cosmopolitans” who cultivate and attend to external people and “locals” who draw upon internal people.
Issue Date: 1-Feb-2016
Date of Acceptance: 27-Sep-2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/18939
DOI: 10.1002/smj.2342
ISSN: 0143-2095
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
Start Page: 280
End Page: 302
Journal / Book Title: Strategic Management Journal
Volume: 37
Issue: 2
Copyright Statement: © 2014 The Authors. Strategic Management Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/C534239/1
Keywords: Social Sciences
Business
Management
Business & Economics
search
innovation
individuals
attention
scientists
boundary-spanning
KNOWLEDGE NETWORKS
WEAK TIES
ALLIANCE FORMATION
TOP MANAGEMENT
LOCAL SEARCH
DUAL LADDER
BOUNDARY
PERFORMANCE
ATTENTION
TIME
Social Sciences
Business
Management
Business & Economics
search
innovation
individuals
attention
scientists
boundary-spanning
KNOWLEDGE NETWORKS
WEAK TIES
ALLIANCE FORMATION
TOP MANAGEMENT
LOCAL SEARCH
DUAL LADDER
BOUNDARY
PERFORMANCE
ATTENTION
TIME
1503 Business and Management
1505 Marketing
Business & Management
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2014-11-24
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School



This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons