Building on psychological research on job demands and executive job demands theory, we explain why executive job demands negatively influence a firm’s overall innovation and shift the balance of innovative activities toward a larger share of exploitative innovations at the expense of exploratory innovations, leading to a smaller share of innovations that are exploratory. In addition, we explain how variety in executives’ gender, age, and tenure and an innovative climate weaken the negative effects of job demands on both overall innovation and the share of exploratory innovations. Our theory suggests that a controlling climate and employees’ education weaken the negative effect of job demands on overall innovation but exacerbate the negative effect of job demands on the share of exploratory innovations. Using surveys collected on-site from 243 Chinese firms, we find support for five of our 10 hypotheses and marginal support for three additional hypotheses but no support for the two moderating effects of innovative climate. This study shifts innovation scholars’ attention away from executive cognition and characteristics to their job environment attributes. It also develops executive job demands theory by examining its boundaries and applicability to the domain of innovation management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation