, Volume 101, Issue 1, pp 705–716 | Cite as

Does inertia matter for parts manufacturers’ innovation?



The current study investigates parts manufacturers’ innovative behavior from the population ecology perspective. Specifically, this paper proposes that firm level inertia and network level inertia matter in parts manufacturer’s innovation. Using data from auto parts manufacturers, we test four hypotheses, and the results show that firm level inertia indicated by age does not matter, while firm’s innovative inertia matters in parts manufacturers’ innovation. At the same time, we find that cluster can promote general parts firms’ innovation, but they will harm the innovative firms’ innovative behavior. These results contribute to our understanding of parts manufacturer’s innovation.


Parts manufacturers Inertia Innovation Population ecology 

JEL Classification

C81 D21 L62 



The paper is a stage result of the project of Financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71172184 and No. 70872088) and is also supported by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (No. 20100201110064). The authors are grateful to the Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, suggestions and help.


  1. Chandrashekaran, M., Mehta, R., Chandrashekaran, R., & Grewal, R. (1999). Market motives, distinctive capabilities, and domestic inertia: A hybrid model of innovation generation. Journal of Marketing Research, 52, 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Choi, S. B., Lee, S. H., & Williams, C. (2011). Ownership and firm innovation in a transition economy: Evidence from China. Research Policy, 40, 441–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1, 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eisenhardt, K. M., & Martin, J. A. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: What are they? Strategic Management Journal, 21(10–11), 1105–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Filatotchev, I., Liu, X., Lu, J., & Wright, M. (2011). Knowledge spillovers through human mobility across national borders: Evidence from Zhongguancun Science Park in China. Research Policy, 40, 453–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Flyer, F., & Shaver, J. M. (2003). Location choices under agglomeration externalities and strategic interaction. Advances in Strategic Management, 20, 193–213.Google Scholar
  7. Genus, A. & Jha, P. (2012). The role of inertia in explanations of project performance: a framework and evidence from project-based organizations. International Journal of Project Management, 30, 117–126.Google Scholar
  8. Gilbert, C. G. (2005). Unbundling the structure of inertia: Resource versus routine rigidity. Academy of Management Journal, 5, 741–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greve, H. R. (1998). Performance, aspirations, and risky organizational change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 55–86.Google Scholar
  10. Greve, H. R. (2003). A behavioral theory of R&D expenditures and innovation: Evidence from shipbuilding. Academy of Management Journal, 46, 685–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hannan, M. T. (2005). Ecologies of organizations: Diversity and identity. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1, 51–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hannan, M. T., & Freeman, J. (1977). The population ecology of organizations. American Journal of Sociology, 5, 929–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hannan, M. T., & Freeman, J. (1984). Structural inertia and organizational change. American Sociological Review, 2, 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Henderson, R. M., & Clark, K. B. (1990). Architectural innovation: The reconfiguration of existing product technologies and the failure of established firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 9–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hu, A. G. (2010). Propensity to patent, competition and China’s foreign patenting surge. Research Policy, 39, 985–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hu, A. G., & Jefferson, G. H. (2009). A great wall of patents: What is behind China’s recent patent explosion? Journal of Development Economics, 90, 57–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huff, J. O., Huff, A. S., & Thomas, H. (1992). Strategic renewal and the interaction of cumulative stress and inertia. Strategic Management Journal, 13, 55–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kim, T., Oh, H., & Swaminathan, A. (2006). Framing interorganizational network change: A network inertia perspective. Academy of Management Review, 31, 704–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Levinthal, D. (1992). Surviving Schumpeterian environments: An evolutionary perspective. Industrial and Corporate Change, 1, 427–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liao, S., Fei, W., & Liu, C. (2008). Relationships between knowledge inertia, organizational learning and organization innovation. Technovation, 28, 183–195.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science, 2, 71–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. March, J. G., & Simon, H. A. (1958). Organizations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. Marshall, A. (1920). Principles of economics (8th ed.). Macmillan: London.Google Scholar
  24. Mokyr, J. (1992). Technological inertia in economic history. Journal of Economic History, 52, 325–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Narula, R. (2002). Innovation systems and ‘inertia’ in R&D location: Norwegian firms and the role of systemic lock-in. Research Policy, 31, 795–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Porter, M. E. (2000). Location, competition and economic development: Local clusters in a global economy. Economic Development Quarterly, 14(1), 15–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schreyogg, G., & Kliesch-Eberl, M. (2007). How dynamic can organizational capabilities be? Towards a dual-process model of capability dynamization. Strategic Management Journal, 28, 913–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sun, Y. (2003). Determinants of foreign patents in China. World Patent Information, 25, 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tallman, S., Jenkins, M., Henry, N., & Pinch, S. (2004). Knowledge, clusters, and competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 29(2), 258–271.Google Scholar
  30. Tushman, M. L., & Anderson, P. (1986). Technological discontinuities and organizational environments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 3, 439–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tushman, M. L., & O’Reilly, C. (1996). Ambidextrous or organizations: Managing evolutionary and revolutionary change. California Management Review, 38, 8–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and FinanceXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Strategic Management, Guanghua School of ManagementPeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations