In order to improve innovation performance, it is necessary to analyze a series of processes that are connected to innovation performance, as well as R&D input. Since industrial characteristics affect innovation performance, the differences between corporate R&D capabilities in the industrial sector should also be considered. This study verified the effect of R&D capabilities and absorptive capacities on innovation using a structural equation model for Korean manufacturing companies, and analyzed in-depth the relationship between capability and performance of high- and low-tech sectors through multi-group analysis. The results show that internal and external R&D capabilities had a positive effect on absorptive capacities, and potential absorptive capability had a positive effect on realized absorptive capacity. In addition, internal R&D capability and realized absorptive capacity had a positive effect on innovation, and the mediating effect of absorption capacities could be identified. As a result of industry sector-specific analysis, the latent mean of internal R&D capability and innovation of the high-tech sector were higher, and the path coefficient of the high-tech sector from the internal R&D capability to potential absorptive capacity and innovation performance was more strongly identified than those of the low-tech sector. Based on the results of this study, we would like to present policies for the development of firm’s R&D capabilities by the industry sector.
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