Impacts of R&D investment on absorptive capacity and firm innovativeness: contingent roles of dysfunctional competition

Shanshan Zhang, Zhiqiang Wang, Xiande Zhao, Jinyu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose: Drawing upon relative absorptive capacity (AC) perspective, this study proposes a research model connecting R&D investment, three types of supply chain AC—AC from suppliers, customers and university and research institutes (U&RIs)—and firm innovativeness and investigates the contingent effects of dysfunctional competition on the link between R&D investment and supply chain AC. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used data collected from 262 manufacturers in three areas of China to empirically examine the conceptual model. The corresponding hypotheses were tested with structural equation modeling and regression analysis. Findings: The empirical results demonstrate that AC from customers and AC from U&RIs play significant mediating roles in the relationship between R&D investment and firm innovativeness. Moreover, R&D investment has a significantly greater effect on AC from U&RIs under high levels of dysfunctional competition. Originality/value: First, by conceptualizing AC from a relative view, this study discloses the unique roles of knowledge from different supply chain partners in realizing the benefits of R&D investment in innovation. Second, the exploration of the contingent roles of dysfunctional competition in the emerging economy of China enriches insights on the roles of institutional environment on knowledge absorption and the knowledge on relative AC in emerging economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1630-1652
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2022


  • R&D investment
  • Absorptive capacity
  • Firm innovativeness
  • Dysfunctional competition


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