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Determinants of Innovation Capability in Small UK Firms: An Empirical Analysis

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  • Henny Romijn and Manuel Albaladejo

Abstract

The paper is an empirical investigation of key internal and external sources of innovation capability in small and medium firms (SME) in the UK. An experimental measure of innovation capability is designed, which captures not merely the occurrence of innovations but also their scientific complexity and originality. The results obtained with this measure compare favourably to those obtained with more conventional statistics. A range of factors internal to firms are found to be relevant, including owners' technical education and prior working experience in large firms and R&D institutions, technical skills of the workforce, and investments in R&D and training. Significant external factors are: public financial support for R&D, and interaction with nearby R&D and training institutions. Although interaction with customers, suppliers and similar-oriented firms are more frequent than the former, there is no evidence that intensive linkages of this kind would be important for innovative capability. These findings do not support the thrust of current UK policy, which seeks to promote SME innovative performance through the formation of geographical clusters of firms in similar lines of business

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series QEH Working Papers with number qehwps40.

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Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps40

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  1. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  3. Paul S. Adler & Kim B. Clark, 1991. "Behind the Learning Curve: A Sketch of the Learning Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(3), pages 267-281, March.
  4. Malerba, Franco, 1992. "Learning by Firms and Incremental Technical Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(413), pages 845-59, July.
  5. Cooke, Philip & Gomez Uranga, Mikel & Etxebarria, Goio, 1997. "Regional innovation systems: Institutional and organisational dimensions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 475-491, December.
  6. Stewart, Frances & Ghani, Ejaz, 1991. "How significant are externalities for development?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 569-594, June.
  7. Robert Huggins, 1998. "Local Business Co-operation and Training and Enterprise Councils: The Development of Inter-firm Networks," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(9), pages 813-826.
  8. Rolf Sternberg, 1999. "Innovative Linkages and Proximity: Empirical Results from Recent Surveys of Small and Medium Sized Firms in German Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(6), pages 529-540.
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Cited by:
  1. Wojciech Szewczyk & Juraj Stancik & Martin Aarøe Christensen, 2013. "Investigation of ICT Firms' Decisions on R&D Investment," JRC-IPTS Working Papers JRC85346, Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  2. William Collier & Francis Green & Young-Bae Kim & John Peirson, 2008. "Education, Training and Economic Performance: Evidence from Establishment Survival Data," Studies in Economics 0822, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  3. Tomi Tura & Vesa Harmaakorpi, 2005. "Measuring Regional Innovative Capability," ERSA conference papers ersa05p680, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Hervas-Oliver, Jose-Luis & Sempere-Ripoll, Francisca & Boronat-Moll, Carles, 2012. "Process innovation objectives and management complementarities: patterns, drivers, co-adoption and performance effects," MERIT Working Papers 051, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. Aken, van J.E., 2001. "Management research based on the paradigm of the design sciences: the quest for tested and grounded technological rules," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 01.11, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  6. Alexandra Goudi & Dimitris Skuras & Kyriaki Tsegenidi, 2003. "Innovation and Business Performance in Rural and Peripheral Areas of Greece," ERSA conference papers ersa03p337, European Regional Science Association.
  7. Coronado, Daniel & Acosta, Manuel & Fernández, Ana, 2008. "Attitudes to innovation in peripheral economic regions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 1009-1021, July.
  8. Aken, van J., 2001. "Improving the relevance of management research By developing tested and grounded technologiCAL RULES," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 01.19, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  9. José Albors-Garrigos & José L. Hervas-Oliver, 2011. "Making sense of innovation by R&D and non-R&D innovators in low technology contexts: a forgotten lesson for policymakers," Working Papers. Serie EC 2011-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Fatas-Villafranca, Francisco & Jarne, Gloria & Sanchez-Choliz, Julio, 2009. "Industrial leadership in science-based industries: A co-evolution model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 390-407, October.
  11. Sanna PEKKOLA & Juhani UKKO, 2008. "Measuring the Effectiveness and Innovative Capability: Case Lahti University Consortium," European Financial and Accounting Journal, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2008(3), pages 62-78.

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