Click here to download

Apertura a fonti esterne di conoscenza per l’innovazione e performance finanziarie delle PMI
Author/s: Claudio Giachetti, Carlo Bagnoli 
Year:  2015 Issue: Language: English 
Pages:  22 Pg. 65-86 FullText PDF:  127 KB
DOI:  10.3280/MC2015-004004
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 

In today’s environment an increasing number of firms are changing the way they search for new knowledge for innovation. These firms are adopting open search strategies that involve the use of external knowledge sources. Some authors suggest that these models of "open innovation" allow firms to improve their performance. However, in the specific context of SMEs, although their internal resource constrains emphasize the importance of external sources of knowledge, the lack of substantial inhouse capacity to recognize, evaluate, negotiate, and finally adapt the knowledge available from external actors may reduce its potential. Is then external knowledge sourcing really an effective strategy for enhancing the performance of innovative SMEs? In this study we elaborate on the concept of "openness to external knowledge sources for innovation", referring to the extent to which firms draw intensively from a wide range of different external sources of knowledge for their innovation activities, and we analyze its impact on SMEs’ financial performance. Using a sample of 281 SMEs situated in the north-east of Italy, the findings of this study show that there is an inverted U-shape relationship between the level of openness to external sources of knowledge and the financial performance.
Keywords: External knowledge sourcing, open innovation, financial performance, SMEs

  1. SparrowJ.(2001).Knowledge management in small firms. Knowledge and Process Management, 8(1):3-16, 10.1002/kpm.92DOI: 10.1002/kpm.92
  2. Ahern R. (1993). Implications of strategic alliances for small R&D-intensive firms. Environment and Planning, 25(10): 1511-1526,, 10.1068/a251511DOI: 10.1068/a251511
  3. Ahuja G., Lampert, C.M. (2001). Entrepreneurship in the large corporation: A longitudinal study of how established firms create breakthrough inventions. Strategic Management Journal, 22(6/7): 521-543,, 10.1002/smj.176DOI: 10.1002/smj.176
  4. Audretsch D., Vivarelli M. (1996). Firm size and R&D spillovers: Evidence from Italy. Small Business Economics 8(3): 249-258,, 10.1007/BF00388651DOI: 10.1007/BF00388651
  5. Baptista R., Swann P. (1998). Do firms in clusters innovate more? Research Policy, 27(5): 525-540.
  6. Baum J.A.C., Calabrese T., Silverman B.S. (2000). Don’t go it alone: Alliance network composition and startups’ performance in Canadian biotechnology. Strategic Management Journal, 21: 267-294,
  7. Belvedere V., Grando A., Papadimitriou T. (2010). The responsiveness of Italian small-to-medium sized plants: Dimensions and determinants. International Journal of Production Research, 48(21): 6481-6498,, 10.1080/00207540903234751DOI: 10.1080/00207540903234751
  8. Beneito P. (2003). Choosing among alternative technological strategies: An empirical analysis of formal sources of innovation. Research Policy, 32(4): 693-713,, 10.1016/S0048-7333(02)00079-3DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(02)00079-3
  9. Bergh D.D., Lim EN-K (2008). Learning how to restructure: Absorptive capacity and improvisational views of restructuring actions and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 29(6): 593-616,, 10.1002/smj.676DOI: 10.1002/smj.676
  10. Bierly P.E., Chakrabarti A. (1996). Generic knowledge strategies in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Strategic Management Journal, 17: 123-135,, 10.1002/smj.4250171111DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250171111
  11. Bierly P.E., Daly P.S. (2007a). Alternative knowledge strategies, competitive environment, and organizational performance in small manufacturing firms. Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, 31(4): 493-516,, 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2007.00185.xDOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2007.00185.x
  12. Bierly P.E., Daly P.S. (2007b). Sources of external organisational learning in small manufacturing firms. International Journal of Technology Management, 38(1/2): 45-68,, 10.1504/IJTM.2007.012429DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2007.012429
  13. Brusco S. (1982) The Emilian model: Productive decentralization and social integration. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 6(2): 167-184.
  14. Camuffo A., Grandinetti R (2011). Italian industrial districts as cognitive systems: Are they still reproducible? Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 23(9-10): 815-852,, 10.1080/08985626.2011.577815DOI: 10.1080/08985626.2011.577815
  15. Chatterjee S., Hadi A.S. (2006). Regression analysis by example. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley,, 10.1002/0470055464.ch1DOI: 10.1002/0470055464.ch1
  16. Chen S., Duan Y., Edwards J.S., Lehaney B. (2006). Toward understanding interorganizational knowledge transfer needs in SMEs: Insight from a UK investigation. Journal of Knowledge Management, 10(3): 6-23,, 10.1108/13673270610670821DOI: 10.1108/13673270610670821
  17. Chesbrough H.W. (2003a). Open innovation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  18. Chesbrough H.W. (2003b). The era of open innovation. Sloan Management Review, 44(3): 35-41.
  19. Cohen W.M., Levinthal D.A. (1990). Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1): 128-152,, 10.2307/2393553DOI: 10.2307/2393553
  20. Colombo M.G., Rabbiosi L., Reichstein T. (2011). Organizing for external knowledge sourcing. European Management Review, 8(3): 111-116,, 10.1111/j.1740-4762.2011.01018.xDOI: 10.1111/j.1740-4762.2011.01018.x
  21. Covin J.G., Slevin D.P. (1989). Strategic management of small firms in hostile and benign environments. Strategic Management Journal, 10(1): 75-87,, 10.1002/smj.4250100107DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250100107
  22. Damanpour F. (1991). Organizational innovation: A meta-analysis of effects of determinants and moderators. Academy of Management Journal, 34(3): 550-590,, 10.2307/256406DOI: 10.2307/256406
  23. Darroch J. (2005). Knowledge management, innovation and firm performance. Journal of Knowledge Management, 9(3): 101-115,, 10.1108/13673270510602809DOI: 10.1108/13673270510602809
  24. Davenport T.H. (2005). The coming commodization of processes. Harvard Business Review, 83(6): 100-108. Davidson R., MacKinnon J.G. (1993). Estimation and inference in econometrics. New York: Oxford University Press.
  25. Deakins D. (1999). Entrepreneurship and Small Firms. New York: Amacom.
  26. Dodgson M., Rothwell R. (1994). The handbook of industrial innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  27. Ebersberger B., Herstad S.J. (2011). Product innovation and complementarities of external interfaces. European Management Review, 8(3): 117-135,, 10.1111/j.1740-4762.2011.01014.xDOI: 10.1111/j.1740-4762.2011.01014.x
  28. Edquist C. (1997). Systems of innovation: Technologies, institutions & organizations. London: Pinter.
  29. Eisenhardt K.M., Schoonhoven C.B. (1996). Resource-based view of strategic alliance formation: Strategic and social effects in entrepreneurial firms. Organization Science, 7(2): 136-150.
  30. Flatten T.C., Greve G.I., Brettel M. (2011). Absorptive capacity and firm performance in SMEs: The mediating influence of strategic alliances. European Management Review, 8(3): 137-152,, 10.1111/j.1740-4762.2011.01015.xDOI: 10.1111/j.1740-4762.2011.01015.x
  31. Freeman C., Soete L. (1997). The economics of industrial innovation. London: Pinter.
  32. Garofoli G. (1992). Endogenous development and Southern Europe. Aldershot: Avebury.
  33. George G., Zahra S.A., Wheatley K.K., Khan R. (2001). The effects of alliance portfolio characteristics and absorptive capacity on performance. A study of biotechnology firms. Journal of High Technology Management Research, 12(2): 205-226,, 10.1016/S1047-8310(01)00037-2DOI: 10.1016/S1047-8310(01)00037-2
  34. Gray C. (2006). Absorptive capacity, knowledge management and innovation in entrepreneurial small firms. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 12(6): 345-360,, 10.1108/13552550610710144DOI: 10.1108/13552550610710144
  35. Hair J.F., Black W.C., Babin B.J., Anderson R.E. (2010). Multivariate Data Analysis –7th edition, Pearson.
  36. Harrison R.T., Leitch C.M. (2005). Entrepreneurial learning: Researching the interface between learning and the entrepreneurial context. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(4): 351-371,, 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2005.00089.xDOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2005.00089.x
  37. Huber G.P. (1991). Organizational learning: The contributing processes and literatures. Organization Science, 2(1): 71-87,, 10.1287/orsc.2.1.88DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2.1.88
  38. Kang K.H., Kang J. (2009). How do firms source external knowledge for innovation? Analysing effects of different knowledge sourcing methods. International Journal of Innovation Management, 13(1): 1-17.
  39. Katila R. (2002). New product search over time: Past ideas in their prime? Academy of Management Journal, 45(5): 995-1010,, 10.2307/3069326DOI: 10.2307/3069326
  40. Katila R., Ahuja G. (2002). Something old, something new: A longitudinal study of search behavior and new product introduction. Academy of Management Journal, 45(6): 1183-1194,, 10.2307/3069433DOI: 10.2307/3069433
  41. Koput K.W. (1997). A chaotic model of innovative search: Some answers, many questions. Organization Science, 8(5): 528-542,, 10.1287/orsc.8.5.528DOI: 10.1287/orsc.8.5.528
  42. Kumar K., Subramaniam R. (1997). Porter’s strategic types: differences in internal processes and their impact on performance. Journal of Applied Business Research, 14(1): 107-123.
  43. Lane P.J., Koka B.R., Pathak S. (2006). The reification of absorptive capacity: A critical review and rejuvenation of the construct. Academy of Management Review, 31(4): 833-863,, 10.5465/AMR.2006.22527456.LaneP.J.,SalkJ.E.,LylesM.A.(2001).Absorptivecapacity,learning,andperformanceininternationaljointventures.StrategicManagementJournal,22(12):1139-1161,doi:10.1002/smj.206DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2006.22527456.LaneP.J.,SalkJ.E.,LylesM.A.(2001).Absorptivecapacity,learning,andperformanceininternationaljointventures.StrategicManagementJournal,22(12):1139-1161,doi:10.1002/smj.206
  44. Laursen K., Salter A.J. (2006). Open for innovation: The role of openness in explaining innovation performance among U.K. manufacturing firms. Strategic Management Journal, 27(2): 131-150,, 10.1002/smj.507DOI: 10.1002/smj.507
  45. Levinthal D.A., March J.G. (1993). The myopia of learning. Strategic Management Journal, 14(2): 95-112,, 10.1002/smj.4250141009DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250141009
  46. Liao J., Welsch H., Stoica M. (2003). Organizational absorptive capacity and responsiveness: An empirical investigation of growth-oriented SMEs. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 28(1): 63-85,, 10.1111/1540-8520.00032DOI: 10.1111/1540-8520.00032
  47. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 28(1): 63-85,, 10.1111/1540-8520.00032DOI: 10.1111/1540-8520.00032
  48. Marchi G., Giachetti C., de Gennaro P. (2011). Extending lead user theory to online brand communities: The case of the community Ducati. Technovation, 31(8): 350-361,, 10.1016/j.technovation.2011.04.005DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2011.04.005
  49. Maskell P., Malmberg A. (1999). Localised learning and industrial competitiveness. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 23(2): 167-185,, 10.1093/cje/23.2.167DOI: 10.1093/cje/23.2.167
  50. Muscio A. (2007). The impact of absorptive capacity on SMEs’ collaboration. Economics of Innovation & New Technology, 16(8): 653-668,, 10.1080/10438590600983994DOI: 10.1080/10438590600983994
  51. Nooteboom B. (1999). Innovation and inter-firm linkages: New implications for policy. Research Policy, 28(8): 327-347,, 10.1016/S0048-7333(99)00022-0DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(99)00022-0
  52. Ocasio W. (1997). Towards an attention-based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 18(S1): 187-206,, 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(199707)18:1+<187::AID-SMJ936>3.0.CO;2-KDOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(199707)18:1+<187::AID-SMJ936>3.0.CO;2-K
  53. Piore M., Sabel C. (1984). The second industrial divide: Possibilities for prosperity. New York: Basic Books.
  54. Pisano G.P. (1990). The R&D boundaries of the firm: An empirical analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1): 153-176,, 10.2307/2393554DOI: 10.2307/2393554
  55. Porter M.E. (1980). Competitive strategy. New York: Free Press,, 10.1002/smj.4250020110DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250020110
  56. Porter M.E. (1985). Competitive advantage. New York: Free Press.
  57. Rosenbusch N., Brinckmann J., Bausch A. (2011). Is innovation always beneficial? A meta-analysis of the relationship between innovation and performance in SMEs. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(4): 441-457,, 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2009.12.002DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2009.12.002
  58. Rothwell R. (1991). External networking and innovation in small and medium-sized manufacturing firms in Europe. Technovation, 11(2): 93-112,, 10.1016/0166-4972(91)90040-BDOI: 10.1016/0166-4972(91)90040-B
  59. Sadler-Smith E., Spicer D.P., Chaston I. (2001). Learning orientations and growth in smaller firms. Long Range Planning, 34(2): 139-158,, 10.1016/S0024-6301(01)00020-6DOI: 10.1016/S0024-6301(01)00020-6
  60. Schneider C. (2009). External knowledge sourcing: Science, market and the value of patented inventions. Management and Decision Economics, 30(8): 551-560,, 10.1002/mde.1474DOI: 10.1002/mde.1474
  61. Schumpeter J.A. (1942). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper and Brothers.
  62. Shane S. (2003). A general theory of entrepreneurship. The individual-opportunity Nexus. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar,, 10.1108/00251741211227500DOI: 10.1108/00251741211227500
  63. Szulanski G. (1996). Exploring external stickiness: Impediments to the transfer of best practice within the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17: 27-43,, 10.1002/smj.4250171105DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250171105
  64. Tsai W. (2001). Knowledge transfer in interorganizational networks: Effects of network position and absorptive capacity on business unit innovation and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 44(5): 996-1004,, 10.2307/3069443DOI: 10.2307/3069443
  65. Vega-Jurado J., Gutierrez-Gracia A., Fernandez-de-Lucio I. (2009). Does external knowledge sourcing matter for innovation? Evidence from the Spanish manufacturing industry. Industrial and Corporate Change, 18(4): 637-670.
  66. Von Hippel E. (1988). The sources of innovation. New York: University Press.
  67. Von Krogh G., Nonaka I., Aben M. (2001). Making the most of your company’s knowledge: A strategic framework. Long Range Planning, 34(4): 421-439,, 10.1016/S0024-6301(01)00059-0DOI: 10.1016/S0024-6301(01)00059-0
  68. Wang J., Shapira P. (2012). Partnering with universities: A good choice for nanotechnology start-up firms? Small Business Economics, 38(2): 197-215,, 10.1007/s11187-009-9248-9DOI: 10.1007/s11187-009-9248-9
  69. Zack M.H. (1999). Developing a knowledge strategy. California Management Review, 41(3): 125-145,, 10.2307/41166000DOI: 10.2307/41166000
  70. Zahra S.A., George G. (2002). Absorptive capacity: A review, reconceptualization, and extension. Academy of Management Review, 27(2): 185-203,, 10.2307/4134351DOI: 10.2307/4134351

Claudio Giachetti, Carlo Bagnoli, Apertura a fonti esterne di conoscenza per l’innovazione e performance finanziarie delle PMI in "MERCATI E COMPETITIVITÀ" 4/2015, pp. 65-86, DOI:10.3280/MC2015-004004


FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content