Three Essays on Firm Innovation Strategy: Innovation of Internet of Things and Green Technologies

  • Xiaocan Yuan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The last few decades have seen an accelerating pace of fundamental transformations in the business environment driven by digital technologies and the emergence of the green agenda. These are known as the digital and green transitions, largely pushed by technological advancements and innovation.
Given the profound impact of such two transitions on the business operations and environment, it is crucial for both researchers and policy makers to improve their understanding of what these big trends mean for businesses and how market players should strategise for responding to these technological
transformations to maximise the benefits and mitigate the risks. We attempt to tackle these big problems by probing into the fundamental technological trends underlying these two transitions.

This thesis is developed to investigate how companies react to the ongoing economic and societal challenges during the digital and green transitions by searching for answers to three related research questions. In particular, we intend to understand how businesses develop their technological
competence or capacity for creating ground-breaking innovation within Industry 4.0 as well as environmental innovation under the current global endeavour to achieve SDGs. We also propose to analyse how the wave of green technology influences economic performance of businesses in the wider economy through the diffusion of green innovation.

The work is composed of three empirical chapters, mainly drawing upon patent information from the Bureau van Dijk’s Orbis Intellectual Property (Orbis IP) database, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices from the Thomson Reuters ASSET4 database, and firm-level information from the Orbis database.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJun Du (Supervisor) & Tomasz Mickiewicz (Supervisor)


  • Industry 4.0
  • Pathbreaking IoT technologies
  • Innovation persistence
  • Environmental innovation
  • Developed country MNEs
  • Global connectedness
  • Intra- and inter-organisational linkages
  • Agglomeration externalities
  • Green innovation diffusion
  • Core-technology competence
  • Technological diversification

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