Title: Reducing uncertainty through imitation in technological innovation: the different moderating roles of digitised and traditional coverage

Authors: Xuanjin Chen; Xin Pan; Xibao Li

Addresses: School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China ' School of Business Administration, Faculty of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China ' School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Abstract: This paper investigates which traits of peer firms are selected for an imitation when firms decide on future technological innovation. In the context of trait-based imitation, we suggest that firms try to imitate peer firms that have a higher level of state ownership to reduce market and political risks and to follow the innovation trajectories of high-status firms to mitigate technical uncertainties and fuzziness. An analysis of data from Chinese firms listed between 2010 and 2015 supports our hypothesis. Additionally, we find that digitised coverage (i.e., internet coverage) exhibits a stronger moderating role than traditional coverage (i.e., newspaper coverage). Our study contributes to the digital innovation literature by identifying two important traits that firms can rely on, providing evidence of digitisation's advantage.

Keywords: technological innovation; state ownership; status; digitisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2021.120935

International Journal of Technology Management, 2021 Vol.87 No.2/3/4, pp.412 - 428

Accepted: 13 Oct 2021
Published online: 17 Feb 2022 *

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