Measuring inter-firm openness in innovation ecosystems

Muhammad Aftab Alam*, David Rooney, Murray Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Inter-firm openness is critical to creating an open innovation ecosystem. However, a method for measuring openness among ecosystem firms has not been developed. We demystify the largely implicit openness construct by introducing a five-dimensional, 20-item Inter-Firm Openness Scale (IFO-Scale). Using three qualitative and four quantitative data sets from two innovation hubs: Macquarie Business Park (Australia) and Silicon Valley (USA), we present the development and validation procedures in three interrelated studies. Study 1 generates a descriptive model of an open innovation ecosystem, identifies the critical openness dimensions among ecosystem firms, and refines items for measurement. Study 2 examines dimensionality and internal construct validity. Finally, Study 3 establishes the nomological- and criterion-related external construct validity. The IFO-Scale replicates across samples and demonstrates strong psychometric properties. The measure aids managers in assessing the degree of inter-firm openness in their innovation ecosystems and enable researchers to test and advance open innovation theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-456
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Ecosystem
  • Innovation
  • Openness
  • Risk-taking
  • Scale
  • Trust


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