تأثیرات اندازه، استراتژیک و بازارگرایی بر نوآوری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19481||2008||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 61, Issue 7, July 2008, Pages 753–764
Based on a random sample of 500 South Yorkshire non-hi-tech manufacturing small, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the quantitative findings support the hypothesis that size, strategic, and market orientation associate with innovation. The results show that prospectors are medium-sized companies and small companies, defenders. Prospectors are more innovative and market-oriented than defenders. The findings reveal that to succeed in an intense competitive environment, non-hi-tech manufacturing SMEs have to be proactive toward market opportunities, receptive to innovation and take the lead in new product innovation. However, their weaknesses include a lack of flexibility, a partial open culture and an organizational structure that impedes sustained innovation. This study addresses a gap in the literature, by linking innovation to the strategic orientation of the firm instead of examining firms' specific characteristics or the effects of external environment and structural factors. The research focuses on non-hi-tech manufacturing SMEs.
Companies worldwide of different sizes and sectors are operating in an increasingly dynamic, complex and unpredictable environment. This increase suggests that many firms seek new ways of conducting their business through some kind of innovation to make a profit and stay ahead of the competition. In particular, intense global competition, rapid technology changes and product variety proliferation are part of the characteristics of the new manufacturing environment (Pun, 2004). While large manufacturing companies can often invest in new technologies and equipment, providing world-class skills, training to their workforce and winning new markets this is hardly the case for small companies (Laforet and Tann, 2006, p. 364). Nevertheless, research shows that new small firms are continually entering the market with new ideas, products and processes (De Jong and Marsili, 2006). A number of British small, medium-size manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs) have survived and thrived through the release of innovative new products (Laforet and Tann, 2006). Thus the contention is that small firms that innovate successfully would increase their chances of survival and growth (Cefis and Marsili, 2003 and De Jong et al., 2004). However, successful innovation is a complex task for a SME that does not have the means and know-how to invest in R&D activities (Avermaete et al., 2003) or cannot always convert research and development into effective innovation. Furthermore, O'Regan et al. (2006) note the many difficulties SMEs have are often organization-specific. Whilst researchers often examine innovation in the context of large firms, they overlook innovation within small firms. The innovation literature in SMEs remains fragmented and usually concentrates on single case studies or qualitative interviews with managers. Moreover, the work in this area focuses mainly on firm-specific characteristic on innovation, the effect of external environment and structural factors, which are more appropriate for large firms instead of the strategic and market orientation of the firm, including factors such as closeness to customers, flexibility which are advantageous to SMEs (Salavou et al., 2004). Researchers also pay little attention to sectors or industries when studying innovation factors in SMEs (De Jong and Marsili, 2006 and Laforet and Tann, 2006). This paper examines the relationship between size, strategic, market orientation and innovation in non-hi-tech SMMEs. This is because non-high-tech SMMEs face intense global competition, as mentioned above. Innovation is fundamental to these companies in order to survive and maintain their competitiveness in the marketplace (Laforet and Tann, 2006). The paper starts with a discussion of factors determining innovation, outlines a review of literature, from which hypotheses are drawn and tested on a random sample of 500 South Yorkshire SMMEs. Hypotheses are then compared with findings and conclusions drawn.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings overall support the broad hypothesis that size, strategic and market orientation associate with innovation. Strategic orientation associates with new product innovation and a company's innovativeness but, not with process innovation nor with sustained innovation. Regarding market orientation, keeping abreast with what competitors are doing, keeping up-to-date with the environment and technological changes are more important for innovative companies than finding out how to meet current and future needs of customers. Competitors' activities also influence new product innovations. Prospectors are more innovative, have a stronger market orientation (but not customer focus) and larger in size than defenders. However, they do not use or invest more in systems and technology than defenders. Neither do they have an environment that facilitates and sustains innovation. This reflects in their lack of continuous improvement. The results of this study agree to an extent, with Woodside et al. (1999) who examine the relationships between strategic types, distinctive marketing competencies and organizational performance that reactor or defender organizations, in comparison with prospector or analyzer organizations, develop inferior marketing competencies related to knowledge about customers and competitors. But, the study cannot confirm whether reactors are inferior to prospectors in terms of planning, skills, service offerings to customers and image management ability. The findings also agree with Ghosh et al.'s (2001) study on key success factors in Singaporean SMEs that prospectors displaying higher capability while defenders concentrating on achieving efficiency. That is, prospectors are more innovative than defenders, have strong market orientation, strong vision, access to technology and resources. In particular, the micro firms employing 5 to 10 and 11 to 20 staff have less means to invest in systems and technology than those with up to 201 employees. The findings agree to an extent, that prospectors display some teamwork when evaluating new product ideas and processes (refer Results section) but, disagree on prospectors being more customer focus than defenders, use IT more, have strong management commitment and support, more flexible than defenders as well as, able to develop and sustain capability. In terms of customer orientation, the results of this study concur with Zhou et al.'s (2005) findings that customer orientation has no impact or even hinders innovation in market-based innovations (or market-oriented companies). Customer orientation has a positive impact and facilitates techno-based innovations (or techno-based companies), which address the needs of mainstream customers (Zhou et al., 2005: p. 54). When a market becomes highly competitive differentiation becomes more difficult. By targeting new and un-served segments, firms can introduce innovations that seize opportunities in emerging markets (Zhou et al., 2005: p. 55). Thus, when consumer preference change rapidly market-oriented firms tend to introduce more innovative products to lead rather than follow the market. As shown above, competitors and environmental factors influence product innovation instead of customers. Consistent with Ghosh et al. (2001), typically, prospectors will try to be the first mover in new product and market areas, while defenders are more concerned with achieving efficiency. Similarly, Zhou et al. also find that technology orientation has an impact on techno-based innovation and has no impact on market-based innovations. As such company commitment to R&D, acquisition of new technology and applications of latest technology. According to the authors, these would benefit techno-based-companies more than non-techno-based companies. This explains why prospectors or innovative companies in the sample did not emphasize process innovation or systems and technology. The results also, support O'Regan and Ghobadian's (2005) findings that prospectors tend to deploy more new process technologies only in turbulent environments. Zhou et al. further argue that possessing new technology is not sufficient to develop market-based innovations in the case of market-oriented companies, entrepreneurial values such as being highly proactive toward market opportunities, tolerant of risk, receptive to innovation and initiate change are fundamental. Consistent with Zhou et al.'s findings, the results show that companies have some entrepreneurial values such as being proactive toward market opportunities and receptive to innovation. With regard to flexibility, management commitment and support, ability to develop and sustain capability, it is possible that the companies surveyed are not typical prospectors. They also exhibit analyzers' characteristics i.e., in-between defender and prospector type companies. In a way, this is not surprising as this reflects the nature of many British SMMEs that tend to be more of a defender and analyzer than a prospector type company. As the sample also indicates, 62% of companies surveyed thought of themselves as defenders. This study has several implications for non-high-tech manufacturing SMEs: Firstly, innovation relates to company size. Small firms often have little choice, but to focus on maintaining its existing market and defending its position than expanding its business. Secondly, to succeed in a new intense competitive manufacturing environment non-high-tech manufacturing SMEs have to be more creative and introduce new products (break through innovations or creative innovations) to explore new market opportunities instead of developing products based on customers' wants. They must take the lead in new product innovation rather than follow the market. Similarly, these companies must be more entrepreneurial i.e., more proactive toward market opportunities and receptive to innovation. However, their weaknesses include a lack of flexibility, due to their company hierarchical structure, a partially closed culture, a lack of continuous improvement and an organizational structure that hinders sustained innovation. The literature mentions that organizational flexibility associates with techno-based firms undergoing major organizational change (Lund and Gjerding, 1996); while sustained innovation is also difficult in firms with long histories of stable operations (Dougherty and Hardy, 1996). These views are consistent with the operations of the companies under study. As mentioned above, this reflects in that majority of the SMMEs surveyed are defender type companies and do not exhibit typical prospectors' characteristics. Nevertheless, to compete with global competition and, overcome rapid technology change and product variety proliferation in the new manufacturing environment, SMMEs must be able to sustain product innovation. The key to sustaining innovation is company organization. The qualitative data obtained from open-ended questions suggest that, some transformation towards higher level of automation, multi-tasking, multi-skill and cross-job training in the manufacturing industry in the past 5 years, the perceived barriers to innovation are though: financial, market demand and skilled labour. As mentioned above, the micro firms employing 5 to 10 and 11 to 20 staff have less means to invest in systems and technology than those companies with up to 201 employees, which can affect their innovativeness and competitiveness. To conclude, this study makes several contributions to the literature in the field. The study examines innovation in the context of the strategic (and market) orientation of the firm instead of examining the firm's specific characteristics, the factors contributing to innovation from the organization, the entrepreneur, the project team's perspectives and/or, the effect of external environment and structural factors, which are more appropriate for large firms (e.g., Brown, 1998, Goldsmith and Kerr, 1991, Ramachandran and Ramnarayan, 1993, Lipparini and Sobrero, 1994, Georgellis et al., 2000, Beaver and Prince, 2002, Gray, 2002, Mambula and Sawyer, 2004 and Salavou et al., 2004). Thus its emphasis is on the link between innovation and strategy. The study contributes to the recent research on strategic orientation, market orientation and competitive structures on innovation and, focuses on the relationship between these rather than examining each factor in isolation as other researches did. Unlike other studies in the field, the data collected for this study comprise of both managers' perceptions of innovation and firms' evidence of innovation practices. This study also goes one step further than the current literature (e.g., Ettlie and Rubenstein, 1987, Salavou et al., 2004, Lee and Tsai, 2005 and O'Regan and Ghobadian, 2005), the findings show more specifically, that strategic orientation relates to new product innovations and a company's innovativeness but, does not relate to process innovation. Equally, competitors' activities and environmental factors influence new product development, not the customers. This study also draws similar conclusions with studies on non-high-tech manufacturing firms and Zhou et al.'s Chinese firms. This study agrees to an extent with Woodside et al.'s (1999) study and agrees/disagrees with Ghosh et al.'s (2001) study on key success factors in Singaporean firms. This research focuses on the relationship between size, strategic and market orientation and innovation and finds an interesting link between a firm's innovativeness, its size, strategic (or competitive) and market orientation. Unlike small manufacturing firms, medium-sized manufacturing firms are innovative, exhibit some prospector type characteristics and have strong market orientation. In terms of managerial and policy implications, the study reveals that sustained innovation is an issue in non-high-tech SMMEs. Another issue is size. The results of the study show that small non-hi-tech manufacturing companies take a defensive position and are not at the forefront of innovations compared with medium-sized firms. The reasons for these results are mainly financial and strategic. However, another possible reason may relate to risk-taking attitude, which this study cannot confirm and is the subject of further investigation. Further research should use a larger sample size to validate the theory and focuses on specific sectors within the non-hi-tech manufacturing industry, though this study does not find sectors to influence innovation. Companies operating in the same sector may well follow the same pattern. Further study could examine the effects of size, strategic, market orientation on innovations using multiple linear regression analysis. A qualitative approach will also provide more insights on organizational culture, risk-taking attitude and how companies can organize themselves to sustain innovation.