The Driving Forces of Individual Absorptive Capacity: The Role of Individual Characteristics and Organizational Mechanisms in Strategic Digital Change

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This study examines how organizations can promote the absorptive capacity of its organizational members throughout strategic digital change. The focus is on the micro-foundations perspective on AC: what drives the ability of individuals to absorb and apply new external knowledge in an environment characterized by strategic digital change. In this study it is argued that individual absorptive capacity is a direct as well as indirect product of individual characteristics and organizational mechanisms at various levels of the organization. In particular, it is assessed how the learning goal orientation of organizational members affects individual absorptive capacity, as individual characteristics are argued to play an important role in absorptive capacity. Furthermore, it is studied how team and organizational level mechanisms such as team psychological safety and normative integration moderate the effect of learning goal orientation on individual absorptive capacity. The analysis of digital strategy absorptions undertaken by 58 individuals show that LGO individuals have a higher individual absorptive capacity. The results show that this relationship is strengthened by environments characterized by normative integration, and weakened in contexts characterized by team psychological safety. Keywords: digital strategy, digital transformation, strategic digital change, individual absorptive capacity, learning goal orientation, organizational mechanisms, team psychological safety, normative integration, strategic change, dynamic capability
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