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Exploring the complementarity between innovation and export for SMEs’ growth

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Author Info

  • Elena Golovko

    (Department of Organization & Strategy, CIR and CentER, Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands)

  • Giovanni Valentini

    (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, we advance and test the idea that innovation and export are complementary strategies for SMEs’ growth. We argue that innovation and export positively reinforce each other in a dynamic virtuous circle, and we identify and describe the process through which this complementarity relationship takes place. Participating in export markets can promote firms’ learning, and thus enhance innovation performance. At the same time, through innovation, firms can enter new geographical markets with novel and better products, therefore making exports more successful, and, by the same token, they can also improve the quality – and consequently increase the sales – of the products sold domestically. We test our theory using an unbalanced panel of Spanish manufacturing firms over the period 1990–1999. We find robust empirical support for our hypothesis: consistent with the presence of complementarity, we show that the positive effect of innovation activity on firms’ growth rate is higher for firms that also engage in exports, and vice versa. Furthermore, we show that, Ceteris paribus, firms’ adoption of one growth strategy (e.g., entering export markets) positively influences the adoption of the other (e.g., innovation).

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Journal of International Business Studies.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (April)
    Pages: 362-380

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:42:y:2011:i:3:p:362-380

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    Cited by:
    1. Diaz-Mayans, M.Angeles & Sánchez, Rosario/R, 2014. "Innovation, exports and technical efficiency in Spain," MPRA Paper 53230, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Mitja Ruzzier & Jana Hojnik & Aleš Lipnik, 2013. "Relationship between Innovation and Internationalization of Slovenian Internationalized Companies," MIC 2013: Industry, Science and Policy Makers for Sustainable Future; Proceedings of the 14th International Conference, Koper, 21–23 November 2013 [Selected Papers], University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper.
    3. Harirchi, Gouya & Chaminade, Cristina, 2014. "Exploring the Relation Between the Degree of Novelty of Innovations and User–Producer Interaction Across Different Income Regions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 19-31.
    4. Dimitratos, Pavlos & Amorós, José Ernesto & Etchebarne, María Soledad & Felzensztein, Christian, 2014. "Micro-multinational or not? International entrepreneurship, networking and learning effects," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(5), pages 908-915.

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