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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 37, Issue 8, September 2008, Pages 1317–1328
This article analyzes the relationship between the usage of Internet-based technologies, different types of innovation, and performance at the firm level. Data for the empirical investigation originates from a sample of 7302 European enterprises. The empirical results show that Internet-based technologies were an important enabler of innovation in the year 2003. It was found that all studied types of innovation, including Internet-enabled and non-Internet-enabled product or process innovations, are positively associated with turnover and employment growth. Firms that rely on Internet-enabled innovations are at least as likely to grow as firms that rely on non-Internet-enabled innovations. Finally, it was found that innovative activity is not necessarily associated with higher profitability. Possible reasons for this and implications are discussed.
The importance of new technologies and innovations for competitiveness and growth is a truism among managers, policy makers, and researchers. However, not all new technologies and innovations lead to success. Given the manifold technological opportunities and types of innovations from which firms can potentially choose, it is desirable to know which innovative activities and technologies are most clearly associated with improved competitiveness and growth. Arguably even more important is an understanding of the factors that make the success of new technologies and innovative activities more or less likely in general. The aim of this article is to provide some new insights regarding this topic. A conceptual framework is developed that assists in analyzing the relationship between technology, innovation, and firm performance. It is argued that the performance implications of new technologies, such as information and communication technologies (IT), are mediated by innovative activities that result from the adoption of these technologies. Furthermore, the performance implications can vary across different types of innovation, depending on firm-internal and market-specific factors. This conceptual framework serves as a guide for the empirical investigation and the interpretation of its results. The empirical part of the study compares the performance of innovative and non-innovative companies. Performance is measured in terms of turnover development, employment development, and profitability. In particular, four different types of innovative activity are distinguished: product innovations or process innovations that were enabled by Internet-based technologies, and product innovations or process innovations that were not related to the use of Internet-based technologies. The article is organized as follows: succeeding this introduction, the theoretical background of this study and a short overview of related literature is provided in Section 2; the conceptual framework that links technology, innovation, and firm performance is introduced in Section 3; the econometric estimation model is explained and derived in Section 4; Section 5 describes the data set and reports some descriptive findings; the estimation results are presented in Section 6 and discussed in Section 7; limitations of the empirical analysis are pointed out in Section 8; and finally, Section 9 concludes the paper.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The conceptual framework and the empirical results presented in this article provide some new insights on the relation between technology, innovation, and firm performance. It is argued here argued that the adoption of new technologies that were invented and produced elsewhere could enable process or product innovations in the adopting firm. The empirical results show that this is currently very common for Internet-based technologies. In addition, it is also argued that innovation is mediating the effect of technology investments on performance. Logically, the simple purchase of or investment in new technology without any subsequent qualitative change in production processes or product offers cannot be a source of improved performance. Furthermore, the actual performance implications of such investments are contingent upon firm- and market-specific factors that influence the ability of a company to successfully transform technology investments into innovations, the reaction of customers, and the ability to protect these innovations from imitation by competing firms. From this perspective, the largely inconclusive empirical literature on the performance implications of IT investments (Kohli and Devaraj, 2003) no longer appears so surprising since most of these studies focused on how much firms invested in IT instead of focusing on how these IT investments qualitatively change production processes, products or service offers. The empirical results of this study showed that innovative firms are more likely to grow, but not necessarily more likely to be profitable. Furthermore, it was found that firms that rely on Internet-enabled innovations are at least as likely to grow as firms that rely on non-Internet-related innovations. Nevertheless, the differences between process and product innovations turned out to be greater than the differences between Internet-enabled and non-Internet-enabled innovations. To put it bluntly, what a firm innovates is more important than how it innovates, but most important is that it innovates at all.