What is absorptive capacity? The definition and an explanation

Absorptive capacity: Definition and explanation


Absorptive capacity

What is absorptive capacity?

Absorptive capacity is an organisation’s ability to identify, assimilate, transform, and use external knowledge, research and practice. In other words, absorptive capacity is the measure of the rate at which an organisation can learn and use scientific, technological or other knowledge that exists outside of the organisation itself. It is a measure of an organisations ability to learn.

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Cohen and Levinthal (1990), “Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Volume 35, Issue 1 pg. 128-152.

Naqshbandi, MM, Kamel, Y, (2017) Intervening role of realized absorptive capacity in organizational culture–open innovation relationship: Evidence from an emerging market. Journal of General Management 2017, Vol. 42(3) 5–20


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Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxford Review Enterprises Ltd 2016-2019. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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