Analyzing the determinants of firm§s absorptive capacity: beyond R&D

R&D Management

This article proposes a new model for analyzing the determinants of absorptive capacity in companies. We suggest that absorptive capacity is determined not only by research and development activities, but also by a set of internal factors, which we group into three basic categories: organizational knowledge, formalization, and social integration mechanisms. In addition, we suggest that these factors may influence all components of the firm?s absorptive capacity, and that the influence can be positive or negative depending on the applicability of the knowledge being absorbed. This paper thus advances the understanding of absorptive capacity by exploring a largely ignored aspect in the literature: the role of knowledge attributes. We show how the model can be operationalized and empirically tested and provide preliminary evidence supporting most of the propositions in the analytical model.