Leveraging customer knowledge obtained through social media: The roles of R&D intensity and absorptive capacity

Elena Ji, Syed Mahmudur Rahman, Ralf Wilden*, Nidthida Lin, Norma Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Previous research has highlighted the benefits of leveraging knowledge generated through internal R&D and external customer knowledge to drive firm innovation. While it is understood that both these knowledge sources may have complementary and/or substituting effects, our understanding of the mechanism through which they affect innovation performance is limited. Therefore, we develop a theory and empirically test a multiple moderation model to investigate the effect of customer knowledge obtained through social media on innovation performance, contingent on the firm’s realized absorptive capacity and R&D intensity. Using PLS-SEM multi-group analysis, we find that firm R&D intensity complements realized absorptive capacity in integrating customer knowledge from social media for innovation performance. Given resource constraints, firms with a low level of R&D intensity should focus on cultivating a strong realized absorptive capacity to maximize the benefits of social media. In contrast, firms with high R&D intensity need not overly prioritize developing realized absorptive capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114811
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • social media
  • innovation
  • absorptive capacity
  • Customer knowledge


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