Unpacking open innovation: Absorptive capacity, exploratory and exploitative openness, and the growth of entrepreneurial biopharmaceutical firms

Tianjiao Xia, Stephen Roper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we explore the relationship between two key aspects of open innovation in small firms—absorptive capacity (ACAP) and external relationships—and their effects on growth in the U.S. and European biopharmaceutical sectors. Results from an international sample of 349 biopharmaceutical firms surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany suggest that realized ACAP plays an important role in determining firms’ growth. In terms of the interaction between firms’ ACAP and external relationships, we find that engagement with exploratory relationships depends strongly on the continuity of R&D, while participation in exploitative relationships is more conditional on firms’ realized ACAP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-952
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Small Business Management
Issue number3
Early online date18 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

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