The role of IT practices in facilitating relational and trust capital for superior innovation performance: the case of Taiwanese companies

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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the moderating role of information technology (IT) practices in the increase of organizational capacity for generating innovation performance from its relational (internal and external) capital and trust capital. Design/methodology/approach: Survey data has been collected from 102 publicly listed enterprises in Taiwan and is analysed by using symmetric structural equation modelling–partial least squares (SEM–PLS) and asymmetric fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) techniques. Findings: The findings derived from SEM–PLS show that internal relationships and trust embedded in firms' relationships play a significant role in the innovation performance of Taiwanese enterprises, and reveal a more closed approach to innovation. The results also confirm the important role of IT advancement in amplifying the effect of internal and external relationships and trust formation on innovation performance. One more interesting note, the integration of fsQCA demonstrates several configurations that lead to superior innovation performance. Research limitations/implications: The study was limited to Taiwanese companies with at least 200 employees. It might well be that the economically significant small business sector has distinct relationships with stakeholders, trust building strategies and IT practices, and that innovation performance depends on other macroeconomic effects. This study combines symmetric (SEM–PLS) and asymmetric (fsQCA) techniques to improve our understanding of the complementarities between relational and trust capital, and IT practices, and identify configurations that could yield organizational benefits for innovation outcomes. Practical implications: This study provides new knowledge about IT utilization in the workplace which practitioners may use to capitalize on internal and external networks and enhance innovation performance. Originality/value: Exploring together intellectual capital (IC) components and IT practices, this study merges IC and knowledge management (KM) streams of literature and adds to the prominent discussion on how IC and technology-based KM together contribute to superior innovation performance. In introducing the notion of equifinality, and testing our hypothesis by applying fsQCA, we also provide new ground for methodological discussions in the field of innovation performance.

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Journal of Intellectual Capital

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