Absorptive capacity and performance: The role of customer relationships and technological capabilities in high-tech SMEs

Nikolaos Tzokas, Young Ah Kim, Hammad Akbar, Haya Al-Dajani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Citations (Scopus)


This study focuses on how the interplay between a firm's absorptive capacity (ACAP), and its technological and customer relationship capability contributes to its overall performance. Using structural equation modeling in a sample of 158 firms (316 questionnaires, two respondents per firm) from South Korea's semiconductor industry, we find that a firm's ACAP leads to better performance in terms of new product development, market performance and profitability when used in combination with the firm's capability to engage state of the art technologies in its new product development program (NPD) (technological capability) as well as cultivate strong customer relationships to gain customer insight in NPD (customer relationship capability). By highlighting the interactive nature of absorptive capacity's antecedents and how these relate to firms' performance, this study contributes to the understanding of the role of ACAP as a mechanism for translating external knowledge into tangible benefits in high-tech SMEs, thus leading to important theoretical and practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134–142
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date20 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Technological capability
  • Customer relationship capability
  • High tech
  • SMEs

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