Toward an aspirational-level theory of open innovation

Oliver Alexy, Elif Bascavusoglu-Moreau, Ammon J. Salter

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Although open innovation has become increasingly established in the management literature, comprehensive theoretical explanations of what drives firms to be open are sparse. Taking the perspective of the behavioral theory of the firm, we conceive of open innovation as a form of non-local search, arguing that firms will turn to open innovation when substantially under- or overperforming relative to their aspirations. We further enquire how this relationship is moderated by firm-specific innovation-related resources: human capital, R&D investment, and patents. Employing a representative survey of UK firms, we find some evidence of moderation, allowing us to present explanations of search through open innovation and contribute to the behavioral theory of the firm itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-306
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016


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