Motivation and ability? A behavioral perspective on the pursuit of radical invention in multi-technology incumbents

J. P. Eggers, Aseem Kaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examine the role of incumbent firms in developing radical technologies, distinguishing between their motivation and ability to develop radical inventions. We argue that the motivation to pursue radical invention will be strongest when performance is moderately below aspiration, and will weaken as performance either falls substantially below aspiration or rises substantially above aspiration. At the same time, ability will increase with performance, resulting in a behavioral mismatch between ability and motivation-firms overinvest in radical invention when performance is moderately below aspiration and underinvest when performance is substantially above aspiration, with these effects being stronger for broad, multi-technology firms. We show empirical support for our arguments using patent data, using an empirical approach that distinguishes the potential radicalness of an invention from its eventual success. Our study highlights the role of established firms as a source of radical technologies, and examines the behavioral biases that may limit firms from pursuing competenceenhancing radical technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-93
Number of pages27
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Motivation and ability? A behavioral perspective on the pursuit of radical invention in multi-technology incumbents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this