Innovation, Firm Performance, and Appropriation: A Meta-Analysis

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International Journal of Innovation Management




Although innovation is considered the lifeblood of many organisations, firms are often challenged to derive the anticipated performance benefits of innovation. Research on the performance outcomes of innovation is similarly beset with mixed results and ambiguity. Through a meta-analysis of 62 studies over 20 years, this paper confirms a strong linkage between innovation and performance and reveals several contingencies. First, we find that inconsistency across performance outcomes is driven in part by stakeholder appropriation. Second, we find that hypercompetition is persistent over time and across industries. Finally, our aggregation of the evidence shows the integration of product and process innovation yields stronger performance gains than product innovation alone, and large firms reap greater performance benefits from innovation than small firms do. We build on these findings to bring focus to areas in which managers may improve performance gains from innovation, and highlight additional areas that can be informed by future research.