Leveraging resources for innovation: The role of synchronization

Christina Matz Carnes, Michael A. Hitt, David G. Sirmon, Francesco Chirico, Dong Wook Huh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Leveraging resources to develop innovation is central to exploiting market opportunities yet doing so is complex and fraught with challenges. This study explores some of this complexity by theoretically detailing and empirically examining the critical role that synchronization plays in the process of leveraging resources to create innovation. Specifically, we integrate resource orchestration with the behavioral theory of the firm to investigate the joint effect of synchronization and leveraging strategies on innovation under different performance conditions. Using policy capturing methodology resulting in 3,600 observations from 120 managers, we find empirical evidence that synchronization can enhance innovation outcomes of all leveraging strategies. Yet, this positive synergistic effect occurs in high performing firms that use the resource advantage and market opportunity leveraging strategies and in low performing firms that use the entrepreneurial leveraging strategy. Our theory and results offer important contributions to the innovation and resource orchestration literatures. First, our study offers a contextually rich examination of innovation, suggesting that it is not only resources, but also managerial actions and a firm’s relative performance that drive innovation outcomes. Specifically, this study adds to our knowledge of the relationship between resources and innovation strategies by investigating the impact of synchronization – a key contingency in understanding the effects of resources on innovation. Second, we examine boundary conditions of synchronization’s influence by integrating behavioral logic in the context of relative firm performance. Mixed evidence exists on the synergistic effect of valuable capabilities, with some studies showing increased gains and others finding evidence of a neutral relationship. This study begins to disentangle these findings by suggesting that resource leveraging strategies and synchronization together enhance innovation when the strategy aligns with the firm’s relative performance aspirations, answering calls for the development of a more nuanced understanding of the pursuit of innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-176
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number2
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • innovation
  • performance aspirations
  • resource orchestration
  • synchronization


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