Opening the black box of organizational Machiavellianism: is co-innovation coming to an end as a driver of innovation performance?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Competitiveness Review, 2022, ahead-of-print, (ahead-of-print)
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Purpose: The discussion on co-innovation inhibitors usually focuses on external actors’ opportunism, related to the loss of intellectual property. However, from the organizational Machiavellianism perspective, inhibitors are not external as the company itself is a source of constraints. Unfortunately, there is a lack of research studies examining the possible negative impact of organizational Machiavellian behavior such as amorality or distrust and desire for control, which could destroy external partners’ trust and commitment. This paper aims to analyze the effect of organizational Machiavellianism on the relationship between co-innovation and innovation performance (product and process innovation). Design/methodology/approach: Structural equations were used to test the research model using survey data from a sample of companies located in an emerging country with a high risk of corruption. Findings: Surprisingly, distrust and desire for control do not moderate the relationship between co-innovation and innovation performance, but do have a positive and direct effect on innovation performance. Conversely, amorality has a negative moderating effect on this relationship. Originality/value: The study reveals that amorality is an evident constraint of the positive impact of co-innovation, as it diminishes the amount and quality of external actors’ contributions in terms of new ideas and knowledge. In contrast, distrust and desire for control alert the firm about opportunistic behavior by external partners such as technology providers, who may induce the firm to adopt an inadequate technological standard in line with their commercial interests.
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