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01.06.2015 | Ausgabe 2/2015

Journal of International Entrepreneurship 2/2015

Entrepreneurial firms in traditional industries. Does innovation matter for international growth?

Zeitschrift:
Journal of International Entrepreneurship > Ausgabe 2/2015
Autoren:
Valerio Veglio, Antonella Zucchella
Wichtige Hinweise
Summary Highlights
Contributions: This study analyses the role played by the typologies and sources of innovation in driving export performance in the case of smaller firms in traditional industries.
Research Hypothesis/Purpose: The internationalization of SMEs in traditional industries is positively related to innovation outputs represented by product design. Among the sources of innovation, informal and external sources are positively related to internationalisation.
Results/Findings: Through a multiple linear regression analysis on 162 SMEs, we found that product design is the main innovation driver that positively impacts on the export activity of SMEs. The usual sources of innovation, which characterise more dynamic industries, are not relevant in the internationalization of SMEs in traditional industries. External and informal sources of innovation -that we thought could matter- are not a significant source of innovation.
Limitations: We need to achieve a better understanding about the innovation model of smaller firms in traditional industries.
Theoretical Implications and Recommendations: The research contributes to literature in highlighting the issue of SMEs in traditional industries, which have been partially neglected by International Business and International Entrepreneurship studies.
Practical Implications and Recommendations: This study highlights the growth potential in foreign markets of small traditional firms, provided they acknowledge the importance of innovation and the need to pursue a more structured approach to innovation.

Abstract

This research analyzes the impact of innovation in the internationalization process of small-medium enterprises in traditional Italian industries. Particular attention is paid to the role played by the typologies and sources of innovation in export performance, in order to detect which innovation drivers mostly impact on the export activity of Italian traditional small-medium enterprises. An exploratory investigation followed by an inferential analysis based on a sample of small and medium enterprises is developed in this study. The analysis highlights the positive impact of design innovation for these firms in their internationalization process, while other typologies of innovation do not play a significant role. Among the sources of innovation, our findings highlight important differences with literature findings for other types of firms. For example, among external sources of innovation, both formal and informal partnerships are not significant. This is also holds for some internal sources, like research and development, which usually play a major role in other firms. The findings seem to suggest that small firms in traditional industries follow different innovation logics in relation to their international growth opportunities.

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