Radical innovation is the fundamental path for enterprises to obtain sustainable competitive advantages, and it is of great significance for upgrading the industrial structure and solving the problem of “stuck necking” in key technical fields. Existing research lacks in-depth argument on the formation conditions and mechanism of radical innovation. Based on the “Technology-Organization-Environment” (TOE) framework, this paper takes 126 “SRDI” (specialized-refinement-differential-innovation) enterprises as the case, and uses the fsQCA method to explore the impact of technology supplement, organization demand, and external environmental conditions.
Based on the configurational effect of radical innovation performance, four types of radical innovation paradigms are exploratively identified: external-drive ambidextrous type, internal-drive absorptive type, external-drive breakthrough type, and internal-external-drive type. Besides, there are three ways will cause the non-high level of radical innovation performance. The commonality of the four types of paradigms is that they all involve the combined effect of three conditions: technology, organization, and environment. This indicates that radical innovation is indeed a complex phenomenon, and it is necessary to explore the coupling mechanism between technology supply, organizational demand, and external environment, which will to some extent reorganize the understanding of radical innovation. Considering the differences between the four types of paradigms, this paper conducts a more in-depth analysis on the paradigms based on the specific cases of “SRDI” enterprises.
The main conclusions are as follows: (1) A single condition does not constitute a necessary condition for the high radical innovation performance of “SRDI” enterprises. (2) Behind the radical innovation of “SRDI” enterprises is the synergy of multiple conditions. The effective combination of various conditions can improve radical innovation performance in the way of “the same return from different paths”. (3) “SRDI” enterprises should be committed to the synergy and integration between technology, organization, and environment according to the current situation, and choose an appropriate innovation paradigm based on supply chain relationship and capacity endowment. This paper helps to deepen the understanding on the improvement path of the radical innovation performance of “SRDI” enterprises, and provides a theoretical basis for the further growth of “SRDI” enterprises and the resolution of the “stuck necking” problem.