Do not Miss the Boat to Outside-in Open Innovation: Enable Your Employees

Stefan Markovic*, Mehdi Bagherzadeh, Anna Dubiel, Jim Cheng, Wim Vanhaverbeke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In a highly competitive business environment, firms are increasingly opening up to external partners and gathering their knowledge to improve internal innovation processes. Although researchers have found that outside-in open innovation (OI) has a multitude of positive outcomes (e.g., improved innovation performance), few have studied its antecedents, and especially the “softer” ones. Thus, this study aims to empirically examine three “softer” drivers of outside-in OI (i.e., entrepreneurial culture, OI support, and OI enablement), based on a cross-industry sample of 104 firms. The results show that the relationship between entrepreneurial culture and outside-in OI is fully and positively mediated by OI enablement, whereas the mediating role of OI support in such relationship is not significant. This implies that entrepreneurial culture is unlikely to increase the level of outside-in OI, unless firms enable their employees, through systematic training and the deployment of teams, to effectively gather relevant knowledge from external partners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)152-161
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Open innovation
  • Entrepreneurial culture
  • Employee enablement
  • External knowledge
  • Organizational support

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