The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 210–230 | Cite as

The impact of imitation strategy and R&D resources on incremental and radical innovation: evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms

  • Jie Wu
  • Kathryn Rudie Harrigan
  • Siah Hwee Ang
  • Zefu WuEmail author


This study proposes and tests a theoretical framework that relates a firm’s imitation strategy and its interaction with R&D resources to incremental and radical innovation. The analysis of a panel dataset of 1381 Chinese manufacturing firms in the period 2008–2014 shows that imitation strategy is positively related to incremental innovation but has an inverted U-shaped relationship with radical innovation. More interestingly, R&D resources serve as a critical boundary condition of the imitation strategy–innovation link—they strengthen the link between imitation strategy and incremental innovation but weaken the link between imitation strategy and radical innovation.


Imitation strategy Incremental innovation Radical innovation R&D resources China 

JEL Classification




We thank very much Shuaihe Zhuo for his excellent assistant in data analyses. Financial support was provided by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71728003).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jie Wu
    • 1
  • Kathryn Rudie Harrigan
    • 2
  • Siah Hwee Ang
    • 3
  • Zefu Wu
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.University of MacauTaipaMacao
  2. 2.Business SchoolColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  4. 4.City University of MacauTaipaMacao

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