Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Analysis of Innovation Capability of 125 Agricultural High-Tech Enterprises in China

Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Analysis of Innovation Capability of 125 Agricultural High-Tech Enterprises in China

Article excerpt


It has been widely acknowledged that innovation has become an increasingly important determinant of economic growth (Barsberg 1987; Fargerberg 1994; Malecki 1997; Schumpeter 1942). Recognizing the importance of innovation, the Chinese government initiated a series of development plans including 863 plan, 973 plan and Torch Programme to facilitate commercialization of scientific research outcomes. According to a recent study, technological progress contributed more than 40% of the economic growth in China during the period 1981-2000 (Fan & Watanabe 2006). However, compared with most developed countries, the contribution of technological progress is still far less than needed. As one of the most important innovation subjects in the Chinese market economy, agricultural high-tech enterprises have been playing a significant role in economic growth and improvement of people's quality of life in China. However, the development history of Chinese agricultural enterprises in last three decades showed that most of them have been experiencing slow growth and short life span due to the inefficient resource management and discontinuities of technological innovation (TI; Chu & Wu 2001; Yan 2002). Therefore, how to accomplish the sustainable development of agricultural hightech enterprises in China through innovation has become a hot issue in recent years.

Given the predominant role of innovation in economic growth and the serious situation of the agricultural high-tech enterprises in China, it is very necessary to investigate the current innovation capability of these enterprises. Currently, the most imperative issue concerning this is how to assess the innovation capability of these enterprises, i.e., what kind of innovation capability they have and in what level compared to non-agricultural enterprises. More importantly, what are the determinants of innovation capability of these agricultural high-tech enterprises in China? Most researches to date have focused on the general notion of innovation capability, while very few of them explain how innovation capability was manifested in the real case of Chinese enterprises, especially concerning the agricultural high-tech enterprises in China. Using the first-hand survey data of 125 agricultural high-tech enterprises in China, this article attempts to answer these questions: what constitutes innovation capability of agricultural high-tech enterprises in China? What determines the performances of these enterprises' innovation capability? How can it be developed and exploited? Relevant suggestions will thence be derived.


In the management literature two schools of innovation research were identified by Subramanian and Nilakanta (1996). The first focused on the innovative behavior of consumers, where consumer is used as the unit of analysis; the second on areas of organizational theory and strategic management, where the organization is used as a unit of analysis. We have chosen the second domain in this study.

The definition of innovation can be defined from different perspectives. It can refer to the adoption of an idea or behavior, whether a system, policy, program, device, process, product or service, that is new to the adopting organization (Damanpour 1991, 1992). It is also defined as the transformation of knowledge into new products, processes, and services - involving more than just science and technology. It involves discerning and meeting the needs of the customers (Porter & Stern 1999). It can either be viewed as a device or process (Dougherty & Hardy 1996). Some other researchers are concerned that past researches have focused on technological and technical product innovation while neglecting process and organizational innovation (Kim & Mauborgne 1999). Rothwell (1994) explains that innovation has gone through fives generations of evolution. He also claims that there are examples of Japanese firms operating on fourth generation innovation, and US firms operating on third generation, but the presence of fifth generation innovation is still emerging. …

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