In the rapidly changing digital environment, the development of digital start-ups is facing huge challenges. They need to adopt coopetition strategy to achieve growth and respond to complex and changing environmental demands. However, the existing literature puts more focus on the relationship between coopetition strategy and firm performance in the traditional context, and limited research has investigated the relationship between coopetition strategy and digital start-up growth in the digital context. Given this, it is necessary to clarify the mechanism and boundary conditions of coopetition strategy and digital start-up growth.
Based on the coopetition theory, the dynamic capability theory and the situational characteristics of digital scenario, this paper constructs a theoretical model of coopetition strategy and digital start-up growth, in which ambidextrous capabilities (exploration and exploitation) play a mediating role and technological turbulence plays a moderating role. Science and technology business incubators and software parks in Jiangsu Province, Beijing and Jilin Province are selected as the sampling areas. With the help of the good cooperative relationship established with local governments, industry associations and other management agencies in the early stage, sample enterprises are randomly selected as the research object in the list of digital start-ups provided by local science and technology business incubators and software parks, so as to ensure the randomness and representativeness of the sample selection process. After screening, 340 effective samples are finally obtained, and the theoretical assumptions are empirically tested by exploratory factor analysis, correlation analysis, hierarchical regression analysis and Bootstrap.
The conclusions are as follows: Firstly, coopetition strategy has a positive impact on digital start-up growth. Secondly, exploration capability and exploitation capability play a mediating role in the relationship between coopetition strategy and digital start-up growth. Thirdly, technological turbulence plays a positive moderating role in the relationship between exploration capability and digital start-up growth, and plays a negative moderating role in the relationship between exploitation capability and digital start-up growth. In sum, this paper examines the mediating role of ambidextrous capabilities (exploration and exploitation) and the differential moderating role of technological turbulence.
This paper makes several contributions to the theoretical literature: Firstly, it embeds the digital entrepreneurial scenario in the analysis of coopetition strategy and its relationship with digital start-up growth, which promotes the development of coopetition theory. Secondly, it opens the black box of the mechanism of coopetition strategy on digital start-up growth, reveals the mediating role of exploration capability and exploitation capability between coopetition strategy and digital start-up growth, develops the theoretical research on ambidextrous capabilities, and promotes the integration of coopetition theory and dynamic capability theory in the digital context. Thirdly, it enriches the research on the boundaries of ambidextrous capabilities in the digital context, and clarifies the differential effect of exploration capability and exploitation capability on digital start-up growth under different degrees of technological turbulence.