External knowledge and information technology: Implications for process innovation performance
Journal article, 2017

Prior research highlights the vital role of information technology (IT) for innovation in firms. In this paper, we draw on the knowledge-based view of the firm to investigate how search in external knowledge sources and information technology for knowledge absorption jointly influence process innovation performance. Our model is tested on a nine-year panel (2003–2011) of Swiss firms from a wide range of manufacturing industries. Using instrumental variables, and disaggregating by type of IT, we find that data access systems and network connectivity hold very different potential for the effective absorption of external knowledge, and the subsequent realized economic gains from process innovation. Against the backdrop of today’s digital transformation, our findings demonstrate how firms should coordinate strategies for sourcing external knowledge with specific IT investments in order to improve their innovation performance.

innovation strategy

firm performance

external search

Business value of IT

knowledge-based view of the firm


Industry 4.0

process innovation

open innovation

absorptive capacity


Konstantinos Trantopoulos

Georg von Krogh

Martin Wallin

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategy

Martin Woerter

MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems

0276-7783 (ISSN)

Vol. 41 1 287-300

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Business Administration



More information

Latest update

3/2/2022 6