Barriers to absorptive capacity in emerging market firms

Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, Huaichuan Rui

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We identify how barriers to absorptive capacity limit success in integrating external technology by firms in emerging markets. By comparing a failure and a success case, we refine previous barriers to absorptive capacity and classify them into internal (managerial biases and weak social integration mechanisms) and external (muted activation triggers, conflicting source relationships, and feeble appropriability regimes). We also identify how particular home country conditions in emerging markets (higher restraints on incentives, higher information asymmetries, and weaker contract protection) heighten the barriers. These ideas refine our understanding of the concept of absorptive capacity and the barriers by using agency theory as the theoretical grounding of the explanatory mechanisms. They also provide a better understanding of the influence of the home country on the technology strategy of firms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-742
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

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