Purpose: Previous studies have argued that there is a relationship between social capital and
exploratory innovation. However, there is ambiguity in identifying the factors which will enhance
the effectiveness of the relationship at the individual level. In response the study attempts to
examine the effect of social capital on exploratory innovation activities by explaining the
moderating impact of personal values of the individuals.
Design/Methodology/Approach: The study is a cross sectional survey, with a sample of 360
managerial level employees working in the IT industry of Sri Lanka. The judgmental sampling
method was adopted to select the sample. The data were collected through a structured selfadministered
questionnaire, and then analysed adopting Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)
using AMOS 21.
Findings: The empirical data revealed that there is a positive and significant relationship among the
social capital and exploratory innovation activities. Among the significant relationships of network
perspectives of social capital, the influence of bridging social capital is high. The interaction of
the network perspective of social capital with personal values (openness to change, conservation
and self enhancement values) were positive, and significant on exploratory innovation activities.
The openness to change and self enhancement values were found to be having a direct positive
significant effect over exploratory innovation activities while the conservation value effect is
found to be insignificant.
Theoretical Implications: The main theoretical contribution made by the current study is
the extension of Social Capital Theory through the Social Network Theory and the Theory of
Basic Human Values by providing theoretical explanation on the individual level factors, which
will influence the relationship between social capital and exploratory innovation activities.
Along with the theorisation on how network perspective dimensions of social capital (bonding,
bridging and linking social capital) will affect exploratory innovation activities, the examination
of the moderating effect of personal values on the relationship will be an original theoretical
contribution of the study.
Managerial Implications: The study suggests that managers need to continuously pay attention
in maintaining the most suitable network configuration for the improvement of exploratory
innovation activities. Moreover, it provides direction on the manner to employ suitable persons by
assessing based on the personal values within them to mitigate the lack of exploratory innovation
Originality/Value: The study attempts to find explanations for the lack of exploratory innovation
activities, in comparison to the level of social capital by exploring the individual level factors which
affect the relationship. The study highlights on how strength of relationships and personal values
will influence the development of exploratory innovation activities.