An Exploration of the Relationship between Boundary Spanning and Organizational Performance

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An Exploration of the Relationship between Boundary Spanning and Organizational Performance
Yoon, Young Sim
Woo, Han Gyun
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Graduate School of UNIST
In this paper, we present a study that examines how individuals who take the role of boundary spanner affect organizational innovativeness inside the team. Recently, there has been growing attention from burgeoning interests in open innovation and interdisciplinary R&D on boundary spanning and its impact on innovative culture or the capability of organizations. Boundary spanning is concerned with detecting internal or external information and then creating networks that connect between the environment and the organization. Such informational boundary spanners successfully translate acquired information and knowledge across communication boundaries. Therefore, they are considered key players of open innovation in many cases. To fill this role, they are usually aware of contextual conditions on both sides of the boundary and able to control the situation inside the firm. For organizational innovativeness, we consider ambidexterity and absorptive capacity as theoretical foundations of our research. Ambidexterity refers to an organizational characteristic that pursues the balance between exploration of new knowledge and exploitation of existing knowledge. It is not counterintuitive that boundary spanning is associated with the activities of exploration as they are intended for tapping into diverse expertise and insights. Our research model posits associations among vertical and horizontal boundary spanning within an organization, organizational combinative capabilities, and ambidexterity. We expect that this study can provide a better understanding on the dynamic mechanism of boundary spanning and the role of innovation leaders and also an insight into the questions: what is the bottleneck in the innovation process of our company? And how can we overcome the obstacles? Specifically, we will examine the relation among (1) Boundary spanning, (2) Diversity inside the unit, (3) Empowerment, (4) Ambidexterity, (5) Organizational performance. Thus, the main goal of this research is to examine whether the organizational performance varies as a results of boundary spanning roles which could be influenced by the diversity of the unit and empowerment. The main method of our study was survey of professionals working in R&D departments. After reviewing relevant literature and selecting a pool of items, we conducted a survey. The questionnaire distributed randomly, and we mainly used survey instruments adopted from prior works. All components inside construct were measured with multi-item scales. Boundary spanners, ambidexterity, power relation, diversity, and performance were the latent variables. To remove the common method bias, we used Modern MTMM technique and Harman’s single-factor test. Also we examined differences between non-response biases. After checking the construct and content validity, and the reliability of the instruments, we employed PLS (partial least squares regression) analysis to find out the relations among variables.
Technology Management
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