Resource and Capability Constraints to Innovation in Small and Large Plants
In an attempt to enhance firm’s competitiveness, policy initiatives have sought to encourage more firms to innovate, with a particular focus on small firms. The success of such initiatives, however, depends on a clear understanding of the factors that are constraining innovation activity, and whether these differ for firms of different sizes. This paper examines those resources and capabilities that firms identify as constraining their innovation activity, the difference in these for small and larger plants and the actual impact of these perceived constraints on the probability of innovating and the degree of innovation success. Drawing on longitudinal data the paper demonstrates that innovation is an evolutionary process with the constraints to innovation being different for small and larger plants. From a policy perspective, initiatives to overcome constraints to innovation in small plants should extend beyond those of finance to include greater networking opportunities, cost reduction programmes and marketing strategies to increase the profit margin on new products, human resource management practices on implementing change and easier access to information about new technologies. In contrast policies to promote innovation in larger plants should focus on minimising the risk of development and enhancing access to specialist expertise. Copyright Springer 2006
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