Drivers of innovation and strategic resilience in and between firms: The role of absorptive capacity, psychological safety and innovation capabilities.
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The focal point of the articles in this dissertation is on building innovative capabilities in and between firms in industry clusters in Norway. Top management teams and their members and has been the target group for both the conceptual and empirical studies. This dissertation contains three articles, and the concept of absorptive capacity is consistent for all three studies. Paper one, “Innovation and metamorphosis towards strategic resilience”, is a conceptual study exploring the role of resilience to overcome environmental turmoil alongside uncertainty and complexity with the aim of finding a route that may help firms develop strategic resilience. Paper two, «Absorptive capacity in an inter-organizational context: evidence from firms in an industry cluster in Norway», investigates how or if a sense of shared identity between firms in an industry cluster enable innovation capabilities, through the lens of firm absorptive capacity. The most central contribution of paper three, «The mediating role of absorptive capacity on the relationship between top management team members’ psychological safety and organizational innovativeness», is the exploration of the relationship between team psychological safety and absorptive capacity. For a firm to be able to build a positive organizational legacy and its strategic resilience, absorptive capacity is key, as we demonstrate in paper one. We propose inter-organizational relationships and a sense of shared identity as strategical key resources for the building a firm's absorptive capacity, as it assists knowledge sharing and facilitates the exploitation of that acquired knowledge. We validate this in paper 2. To empower (especially the internal aspects of) absorptive capacity, building team psychological safety is vital, as shown in paper 3. Common to all three studies is the focus on top management teams and top management team members and they all include a perspective of absorptive capacity. The studies all aim to improve knowledge about how to increase innovation capabilities and strategic resilience of firms. In sum, the findings in the papers adds to a discussion on how firms may act to increase their innovation capabilities by facilitating the development of absorptive capacity and psychological safety.