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Knowledge Networks in an Uncompetitive Region: SME Innovation and Growth

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  • ROBERT HUGGINS
  • ANDREW JOHNSTON

Abstract

Knowledge networks are now recognised as a crucial element underlying the economic success and competitiveness of geographic locations, in particular regions. The aim of this paper is to assess the types of knowledge networks utilised and formed by knowledge-based small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the relatively uncompetitive regional setting of Yorkshire and Humberside in the UK. It explores the relationship between knowledge networking activity and the levels of innovation and growth achieved by these SMEs. It is found that SMEs tend to utilise and value more knowledge networks with actors outside the region. However, more innovative SMEs possess a balance of inside and outside the region knowledge networks. Knowledge networking activity is sometimes negatively associated with growth, suggesting that networks with certain actors, such as public sector support agencies, may be formed by SMEs when they are facing competitive pressures. In terms of policy implications, the paper recommends a shift from the cluster policies implemented by many regional authorities to a regional innovation systems approach, focusing equally on the regional and more global dimensions of knowledge networks. It is concluded that regional public policy makers need to renew their efforts to support SMEs in creating and sustaining their knowledge networks. Copyright (c) 2009 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

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  • Robert Huggins & Andrew Johnston, 2009. "Knowledge Networks in an Uncompetitive Region: SME Innovation and Growth," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 227-259.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:40:y:2009:i:2:p:227-259
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    Cited by:

    1. Mas-Verdú, Francisco & Ortiz-Miranda, Dionisio & García-Álvarez-Coque, José María, 2016. "Examining organizational innovations in different regional settings," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5324-5329.
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    3. Gull, Isabel, 2013. "Das Management von Innovationsclustern: Die operative Clusterführung," Arbeitspapiere 137, University of Münster, Institute for Cooperatives.
    4. Maja Savic & Helen Lawton Smith & Ioannis Bournakis, 2014. "The effect of external knowledge sources and their geography on innovation in Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) SMEs; some Implications for de-industrialised regions in the UK," Working Papers 18, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Aug 2014.
    5. Graciela Corral De Zubielqui & Janice Jones & Laurence Lester, 2016. "KNOWLEDGE INFLOWS FROM MARKET- AND SCIENCE-BASED ACTORS, ABSORPTIVE CAPACITY, INNOVATION AND PERFORMANCE — A STUDY OF SMEs," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(06), pages 1-31, August.
    6. Robert Huggins & Piers Thompson, 2015. "Entrepreneurship, innovation and regional growth: a network theory," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 103-128, June.
    7. Nick Clifton & Robyn Keast & David Pickernell & Martyn Senior, 2010. "Network Structure, Knowledge Governance, and Firm Performance: Evidence from Innovation Networks and SMEs in the UK," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 337-373.
    8. Maldonado, Mauricio & Noronha Vaz, Teresa, 2015. "Knowledge Spillovers Within The Algarve Tourism Region. Evidence To Identify A Regional Innovation System," Spatial and Organizational Dynamics Discussion Papers 2015-4, CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve.
    9. Huber, Franz, 2013. "Knowledge-sourcing of R&D workers in different job positions: Contextualising external personal knowledge networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 167-179.

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