Effects of inter- and intra-organizational learning activities on SME innovation: the moderating role of environmental dynamism

Seok Young Oh, Sehwa Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to investigate how the inter-organizational learning (inter-OL) of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) promote intra-organizational learnings (intra-OL) and how inter- and intra-OL jointly promote organizational innovation in the Korean electronics industry. This study also examines the moderating effect of organizational dynamism. Design/methodology/approach: A unique theoretical model shows how inter-OL promotes organizational innovation through intra-OL, knowledge flows and stocks. Data was collected from 201 SMEs in the Korean electronics industry and analyzed by structural equation modeling. Findings: The findings show that inter-OL directly and indirectly influences innovation. Inter-OL promotes both knowledge flows and stocks, but the only feedforward flows influence innovation through knowledge stocks while feedback flows directly influence innovation. Additionally, the study finds an indirect effect of inter-OL on knowledge stocks and a strong direct effect on innovation when dynamism is high. Intra-OL activities fully mediate between inter-OL and innovation when dynamism is low. Research limitations/implications: This study uses single informants to measure all constructs. Future studies should use multiple informants. Practical implications: This study shows that OL in SMEs is shaped by internal processes and external collaborations. Maintaining a connection with various external knowledge sources and creating collaborative opportunities to share learning experiences is critical to innovation. Originality/value: This study is the first to empirically examine the relationship between inter- and intra-OL activities within a conceptual framework. The study provides a strategic view of how to facilitate OL activities considering the degree of organizational dynamism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1206
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 28

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2020-22-0454. This study thanks the Partner Collaboration Academy for helping with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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