آیا نوآوری همیشه سودآور است؟تجزیه و تحلیل فراشناختی از رابطه بین نوآوری و عملکرد در شرکت های کوچک و متوسط
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18686||2011||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 26, Issue 4, July 2011, Pages 441–457
The performance implications of innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have attracted considerable interest among academics and practitioners. However, empirical research on the innovation–performance relationship in SMEs shows controversial results. This meta-analysis synthesizes empirical findings in order to obtain evidence whether and especially under which circumstances smaller, resource-scarce firms benefit from innovation. We find that innovation–performance relationship is context dependent. Factors such as the age of the firm, the type of innovation, and the cultural context affect the impact of innovation on firm performance to a large extent.
This study aggregated empirical evidence regarding the innovation–performance relationship in SMEs. It was directed to uncover whether smaller, resource-scarce firms benefit from pursuing innovation. The findings show that both an innovation orientation and innovation activities create value for new and established SMEs. Although innovation can imply high initial and continuous investments, risks, and uncertainty, the benefits such as differentiation from competition, customer loyalty, price premiums for innovative products, and entry barriers for potential imitators generally seem to outweigh the costs. By and large, SMEs that pursue an innovation strategy appear to have sufficient resources and capabilities to benefit from innovation. However, this work also uncovers different factors that influence the strength of the relationship between innovation and SME performance. Comparing the strength of the impact of innovation orientation on firm performance with the impact of innovation process outcomes (e.g., patents, new products or services) on performance, we find that SMEs benefit significantly more from a strategic innovation orientation than from just focusing on developing innovative products. Although the bivariate analysis shows that strengths of both relationships are comparable, the multivariate analysis indicates a significant difference. This finding suggests that only focusing on delivering innovative offerings to the market place might not fully leverage the potential of innovation. SMEs can benefit even more if they develop, communicate, and embrace an innovation orientation. An organizational orientation towards innovation can lead to the development of more ambitious goals, the allocation of resources in areas where they create more value, an inspiring and challenging firm culture, organizational proactivity, as well as effective risk analysis and risk-taking. Beyond these internally directed benefits, SMEs which focus on innovation can benefit from a positive perception by market participants leading to higher brand equity, obtaining better collaboration partners, and attracting highly skilled employees. Our findings suggest that these positive internal and external effects go beyond the positive effects innovative offerings have for SMEs. The strong positive effects of an innovation orientation on success can lead entrepreneurs and small business executives to conclude that by focusing more attention on innovation and devoting more resources to the innovation tasks, the benefits of innovation will substantiate automatically. Our findings, however, caution that this is a dangerous assumption. The comparison of benefits of innovation process inputs vs. outputs indicates that SMEs benefit more from creating innovation outputs than generally dedicating more resources to the innovation task. This finding has important implications for innovation researchers and practitioners. It underlines the call for a better understanding as to how innovation inputs can effectively be turned into marketable outputs. There appears to be a substantial difference between dedicating more resources to innovation and achieving innovative offerings. In order to reap the benefits of innovation, resources need to be dedicated to the innovation task, but the conversion into innovative offerings also needs to be managed diligently. When pursuing an innovation strategy, entrepreneurs and small business owners face the quandary of deciding whether they should pursue the innovation development projects as firm-internal projects or with external partners. Prior research predominantly advocates the focus on external collaborations and networking for new and small ventures. Yet, our findings exhibit that internal innovation projects lead to greater firm performance than innovation projects with external partners. Moreover, our meta-analytical results show that the innovation projects that focus on external collaboration do not increase the performance of SMEs. Meanwhile, the internal development of innovations increases significantly the performance of SMEs. This surprising evidence indicates that external, innovation-focused collaborations can have substantial disadvantages for SMEs. Innovation projects which tend to be complex and risky endeavors can be complicated substantially when dealing with external partners which, in consequence, can prolong the duration of the innovation project and imply greater transaction costs in form of greater coordination, supervision, or intellectual property protection efforts (Williamson, 1979). The findings can also be explained by the competitive dynamics literature, suggesting that smaller market participants can be dominated by larger incumbents (Porter, 2004). Resource-scarce, smaller entities may receive unfavorable terms in the joint innovation projects. Following our findings, entrepreneurs and small business owners are advised to consider developing the innovation internally. This might reduce the administrative necessities, could speed up the innovation project, might enable the building of innovation capabilities and might allow a full appropriation of the returns from the innovation projects for the SMEs. From a theoretical perspective this finding provides indication that when dealing with external innovation partners, SMEs might indeed suffer from a liability of newness and smallness. To address the liability of newness and smallness, entrepreneurs and SME managers are advised to determine the degree of external collaboration dynamically. Initially, as collaboration terms are unfavorable, they could focus on internal innovation development. As they gain better insights and market recognition, the focus can shift towards engaging more actively in external collaborations at more attractive terms. A limitation of this study is certainly that we cannot distinguish between different types of external innovation collaborations. Whether external collaboration yield benefits for the SMEs, may largely depend on the kind of external partners the SMEs collaborate with. For example, disruptive innovations might easier to develop internally, while incremental innovations might be better pursued in external collaborations (Christensen and Raynor, 2003). Moreover, collaborations with smaller external partners might be more beneficial for SMEs as competitive dynamics are more favorable and a liability of smallness might be less detrimental. Additionally, depending on the type of collaboration partner, different performance effects may result (Belderbos et al., 2004). Empirical evidence provided in this study suggests that new ventures benefit more from innovation than mature SMEs. Considering the trade-off between flexibility and specialization of resources as companies mature (Amit and Schoemaker, 1993), the flexibility of new firms might be more beneficial for innovation-success than specialization of assets found in established firms. As such, the flexibility of new firms might enable them to adapt to changing environments or induce rapid industry changes themselves. This finding is especially insightful as it highlights that the often cited liability of newness of new ventures (Stinchcombe, 1965) can proof to be an asset for the development of new organizations if entrepreneurs choose adequate strategies. Furthermore, our findings contradict the common-place assumption that countries characterized by individualism, such as the U.S., provide more fertile grounds for innovation. This meta-analysis of innovation research shows that innovating SMEs in cultures with high levels of individualism benefit significantly less from innovations than firms in more collective cultures. In fact, the innovation–performance relationship is lowest for companies based in highly individualistic countries such as the U.S. while the greatest positive impact of innovation on performance is found in Asian countries. A high level of individualism may constrain teamwork as well as internal and external social interactions. Yet, social interactions are important for the success of innovation projects (Nakata and Sivakumar, 1996). Moreover, in more collectivist countries, innovation might be a less popular endeavor. If fewer firms compete in the innovation terrain, the firms that decide to pursue innovations might find more fertile grounds. The firms pursuing innovation in collectivist countries might encounter less competition for scarce innovation resources (e.g., engineers, facilities, and innovation networks), less competition in the initial niche innovation markets, and longer lead times. Hence, entrepreneurs and executives in SMEs in collectivist countries might be well-advised to consider pursuing innovations to enhance their firm performance. A few potential limitations of this study have to be addressed. This meta-analysis attempted to avoid a publication bias by including non-published findings. Yet, access to such empirical work is limited. However, we do not expect that there is a strong normative bias of reviewers and editors with regard to publishing non-significant or negative relationships between innovation and performance. Another limitation is the survival bias included in the primary studies. If individual studies generally suffer from survival bias (innovation may lead to failure — yet the failure of these firms is not documented in the studies), our aggregated findings also suffer from this bias. A third limitation relates to the sample of the studies included. We analyzed SMEs which are a popular focus of management and entrepreneurship researchers. While already more homogenous than studies including large firms, still a substantial variance in firms sizes can be observed. In order to identify the consequence of resource scarcity more clearly, the sampled studies could have been reduced to small firm studies. However, in this regard we believe that the new firm sub-sample analysis provides indications of the special effects of resource scarcity. New firms tend to be very small entities (e.g., Shane, 2008). Since the impact of innovation on performance in new firms was substantially more positive than in more established SMEs, it appears that resource limitations do not hinder firms from harvesting the benefits of innovation. Our study provides some directions for future research. An important performance gap was identified between innovation inputs and innovation outputs. Hence, more research is needed to explain how resources dedicated to innovation are squandered and how SMEs should manage the innovation process. Moreover, while we presented various theoretical explanations as to why new firms benefit more from innovation than established ones, the specific relationships of how innovation enables strong firm performance for new ventures are opaque. Future research should dedicate more efforts into unearthing the mechanisms of how new firms achieve the benefits of innovation. A better understanding of these mechanisms may help in building entrepreneurship theory. Furthermore, we know little about how long firms have to be able to absorb innovation costs before innovation actually pays off. An improved understanding of the time dimension can facilitate theory refinement regarding the innovation performance relationship as well as enlighten managers in new and more established small firms about how to effectively approach the promising area of innovation. Overall, this study identified a number of important contextual factors that impact the innovation performance relationship. In so doing, we hope to foster a more contextual understanding of the entrepreneurship phenomena. We believe that the identified variables are indicators of a variety of salient contextual dimensions; yet, we do not want to suggest that the identified variables are the only ones. More research can be directed at uncovering other moderators and illustrating specific mechanisms how innovation affects firm success.