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When can innovation capabilities enhance export competitiveness?

Insights from the research article entitled ‘Innovation Capabilities, Environmentally Sustainable Practices and Export Competitiveness: An Exploratory Study of Firms from India

Accepted in: International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management

Name: Padmanav Adhikari 

Department: Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay

Program: Ph.D (1st year)

Name of supervisor: Prof. K.S. Momaya



Some firms of Indian origin (FIOs) are striving hard to catch-up on their innovation capabilities (InnoCs) and enhance their export competitiveness (EC). Prior studies at IIT Bombay’s SJMSOM (such as the one done by Bhat and Momaya, 2020) have shown that InnoCs enhance EC and lead to superior export performance of firms in select contexts.


Briefly about the study

In this study, we wanted to systematically analyze when InnoCs can further enhance EC. We built upon and extended the competitiveness Assets-Processes-Performance (APP) framework (proposed by Momaya, 2001) and theorized that environmentally sustainable practices (ESPs) can moderate the relationship between InnoCs and EC.

Figure 1: The conceptual framework proposed in our study


Emerging findings

Our preliminary findings indicate that firms which are ahead of the rest in terms of their ESPs fare better in terms of their EC. This relationship seems particularly strong in innovation-based industries such as software and pharmaceuticals. 


Managerial implications

Our study highlights the moderating effect of firm-level ESPs in the relationship between InnoCs and EC. Based on our preliminary findings, we extend two suggestions to the top management teams (TMT) of FIOs keen to improve their capabilities for EC.

  1. We propose that the teams managing the innovation function and the ones involved in implementing ESPs should ideally work in close consultation with each other.
  2. We propose that firms–even the ones focusing on cost leadership–should identify niche arenas where they can compete on differentiation so that they can earn better margins and spend more on capabilities related to innovation and ESPs.


Related research

Bhat, S., & Momaya, K. S. (2020). Innovation capabilities, market characteristics and export performance of EMNEs from India. European Business Review, 32(5), 801–822. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBR-08-2019-0175

Momaya, K. S. (2001). International competitiveness: International competitiveness: Evaluation and enhancement. Hindustan Publishing House.


Interested in the study?

Please get in touch with Padmanav Adhikari (padmanav.adhikari@iitb.ac.in) and follow the ResearchGate page dedicated to this study (http://bit.ly/ESP-IC).