Purpose – This paper attempts to propose a conceptual model to explain the micro‐level antecedents of absorptive capacity (ACAP) and social context of joint engineering project teams. It delineates ACAP into four dimensions and suggests specific level for each dimension. Revisiting the micro‐foundational origin of ACAP, acquisition of partner's embedded knowledge through joint project teams requires complex interaction among individuals, thus the effect of individual differences and perception in the team's context is proposed. Design/methodology/approach – Cohen and Levinthal's assertion on the conceptual affinity that ACAP shares with creative capacity and organizational learning was revisited. Upon synthesizing pertinent literature, individual antecedents were conceptualized, while strategic alliance literature was examined to theorize on the social context. Findings – Propositions relating individual antecedents and social context to associated dimension of ACAP are postulated. Furthermore, the paper suggests a need for further inquest on the implication of cultural differences. Research limitations/implications – The hypothesized relationships among the constructs are subject to empirical investigation in order to deepen our understanding on individual differences and social contextual effects. Practical implications – Based on the conceptualized relationships among micro‐level antecedents, multidimensional ACAP, and social context, this manuscript recommends some practical guidelines in the context of joint engineering project teams. Originality/value – This study explicates the micro‐level antecedents of ACAP within a joint engineering project team. By integrating individual and social context, it advances multilevel conceptualization of ACAP.
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 4, 2014
Keywords: Ability to utilize knowledge; Individual differences; Joint project teams; Micro‐level antecedents of absorptive capacity (ACAP); Multidimensional absorptive capacity (ACAP); Social context
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