Motives for the position in the Paradox of Openness: The contextual influence on the relation between the regulatory focus trait and -state of individual strategic decision-makers’ position in the Paradox of Openness

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Digitalization causes business ecosystems becoming more complex. However, the necessity to respond to digitalization is high and one way to do so is value co-creation. Value co-creation gave rise to the concept of open innovation, which states that companies cannot innovate alone but have to cooperate with external actors. A hot topic of open innovation is the Paradox of Openness, being a tension between knowledge sharing and knowledge protection with external actors in the ecosystem. As strategic decision-makers motivate such choices differently, we have used the motivational regulatory focus theory and applied this in a qualitative case study with interviews among eight strategic decision-makers in an ecosystem to investigate how their regulatory focus is related to their position in the Paradox of Openness in certain contexts. Our study reveals that the contextual factors: the strategic context, integrity and a perceived necessity influence the regulatory focus state, regarding individuals’ behavior, which results in a different focus compared to the regulatory focus trait, regarding the natural tendency, which is towards knowledge sharing concerning innovation in this sense. The research provides insights in how individual strategic decision-makers influence open innovation in certain contexts and provides practical implications for companies to manage this influence.
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