Process innovation objectives and management complementarities: patterns, drivers, co-adoption and performance effects

José Luis Hervás Oliver, Francisca Sempere-Ripoll & Carles Boronat-Moll


The excessive concentration of the innovation literature on product development, its drivers and effects, has almost neglected an important strategy which develops and sustains a firm's competitive advantage: process development or innovation. This is an examination of process innovation as more than a mere dependent variable for predicting innovators. It provides insights into the poor attention that process innovation variable has received as an indicator of a firm's performance. In addition, the paper relates this process with the management innovation phenomenon. Using 8,977 firms from Spain through CIS data, findings suggest: (1) most process innovation performance is explained without R&D variables; (2) process innovation process innovation was observed to have a strong dependence on external sources of knowledge, mainly via the acquisition of embodied knowledge; (3) an important "implementation" effect or "learning by trying" effect is observed in which the acquisition of embodied knowledge requires the organization to couple the new technology with existing processes; (4) the simultaneous co-adoption of management innovation positively moderates and improves process performance (5) product innovation is not related to process innovation performance. The latter result is unrelated to consideration of co-adoption of product and process innovation. Two-step Heckman procedures control for the selection process. The paper presents important implications for policymakers and scholars.

Key words: process innovation, process innovation performance, management innovation, embodied knowledge acquisition, product innovation.

JEL classification: Q31, L25

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