The Effects of Meta-Organization Affiliation on a Firm's Innovation: Evidence from the U.S. Healthcare Industry

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    Abstract

    Does meta-organization (MO) membership spur innovation? Despite growing scholarly interest in MOs as a type interorganizational transaction, few studies have empirically provided empirical explanations of, the effect of MO membership on an organization’s competitive advantage. We investigate how affiliation with a specific MO may hurt a firm’s innovation. Main argument is that, since there would be institutional pressure for emphasizing similarities among members to sustain the membership, organizational members’ motivation to pursue distinctiveness would be stifled. Drawing upon optimal distinctiveness theory and panel data from the U.S. healthcare industry during 2009-2015, we found a positive relationship between a member being exogenously discharged from the MO and that member’s new technology investment. Moreover, we found that the firm’s boundary spanning activities would strengthen the relationship.

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