• absorptive capacity;
  • dynamic capabilities;
  • strategic alliances;
  • moderated mediation

Absorptive capacity (ACAP) is a firm's ability to innovate by identifying, assimilating, and exploiting knowledge available in its environment. ACAP has been widely researched, but this research has not sufficiently analyzed the influence of ACAP on an interfirm level, especially regarding the multidimensional character of this construct. The present study intends to reveal whether the relationship between ACAP and firm performance in small and mediun sized enterprises (SMEs) is mediated by strategic alliances. Furthermore, different moderating characteristics such as age and size of the companies are taken into consideration. The findings indicate that strategic alliances of SMEs mediate both the relationship between ACAP and firm performance and the relationship between each dimension of ACAP and firm performance. However, these results might not be valid under certain circumstances since strategic alliances have no mediating influence when it comes to young SMEs, for example.