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Lance Cosaert

Meta-analytic research on absorptive capacity and entrepreneurial engagement


In the first study, I unravel how firms develop absorptive capacity (AC) effectively. AC allows firms to recognize, assimilate and apply new information to commercial ends, critical to innovation. I divide antecedents into two categories: those related to path-dependent processes and factors, and those related to managerial agency. The results indicate that managerial agency tends to be associated more strongly with AC. I find support for a partial mediation model, in which path-dependent variables influence AC partially through their effect on the managerial agency. Using a coevolutionary narrative, this study concludes with an integrative framework.

The second study examines institutional contingencies that influence the AC– firm performance relationship across countries. Distinguishing between intellectual property right (IPR) system strength and IPR enforcement, the meta-analytical assessment shows that IPR system strength positively moderates the effect of AC on innovation performance, but negatively influences its effect on financial performance; the opposite is found for IPR enforcement. This research provides insights into how organizations can effectively use IPR across geographical boundaries.

The third study examines how institutional arrangements affect the relationship between entrepreneurial engagement and firm performance. I posit that value appropriation is influenced by the level of coherence within institutions (i.e., the degree to which they adhere to the same governance principles) and that this relationship also holds at different types of institutional configurations. The results indicate that the focal relationship is weaker when institutional configurations lack coherence and present a potential answer to why some policies are effective, and others are not.