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Linking experimental culture, improvisation capability and firm’s performance: a theoretical view

Liao, Zhongju; Huang, Chao; Yu, Yubing; (Simon) Xiao, Shufeng; Zuopeng Zhang, Justin; Behl, Abhishek; Pereira, Vijay; Ishizaka, Alessio


Zhongju Liao

Chao Huang

Yubing Yu

Shufeng (Simon) Xiao

Justin Zuopeng Zhang

Vijay Pereira

Alessio Ishizaka


Z. Liao

C. Huang

Y. Yu

S. Xiao

J.Z. Zhang

A. Behl

V. Pereira

A. Ishizaka


This study aims to investigate the causal relationships within an experimental culture of improvisation capability and firm performance, following the logic of “culture-capability-performance” and building on informal institution theory and dynamic capability theory.

Data was mainly collected via on-site questionnaires from firm managers, and 196 valid questionnaires were analyzed using structural equation modeling to test the relationship among experimental culture, improvisation capability and firms’ performance.

Trust and support had a positive impact on firm spontaneity, while the effect of action promotion and error tolerance was not significant. Action promotion, trust and support demonstrate substantial positive effects on the creativity of a firm. Both dimensions of improvisation capability positively and significantly influence a firm’s performance.

Research limitations/implications
The research respondents were firm managers. Cross-sectional data were used to analyze the model, which may cause common method variance. The research context was limited to China, and the generalizability of the results needs to be considered.

Practical implications
Firms can cultivate a culture of trust and support to enhance their spontaneity and improvisation capability. They can encourage cross-departmental communication, empower employees with autonomy in decision-making, provide appropriate resource support for employees’ decisions and use praise and reward incentives to spur further innovation achievements.

This study addresses the gaps in a firm’s improvisation capability within a Chinese market context by theoretically and empirically examining the role of experimental culture and assessing the relationship among each of the dimensions of improvisation capability in relation to firm performance identified in this study.


Liao, Z., Huang, C., Yu, Y., (Simon) Xiao, S., Zuopeng Zhang, J., Behl, A., …Ishizaka, A. (2023). Linking experimental culture, improvisation capability and firm’s performance: a theoretical view. Journal of Knowledge Management, 27(10), 2671-2685.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2023
Publication Date Nov 22, 2023
Deposit Date Jun 28, 2024
Journal Journal of Knowledge Management
Print ISSN 1367-3270
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 10
Pages 2671-2685
Public URL
Publisher URL