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SMEs' responses to potentially disruptive innovations: Does strategic entrepreneurship provide an explanation?


  • Kay, Rosemarie
  • Nielen, Sebastian
  • Schröder, Christian


This study analyses how established SMEs respond to potentially disruptive inno-vations and business models in the course of increasing digitization. Drawing on the strategic entrepreneurship approach we argue that SMEs showing strategic entrepreneurial behaviour are more likely to respond to potentially disruptive innovations and business models proactively. We find that established SMEs recognizing disruptive innovations and business models as a business opportunity apply significantly more frequently strategic measures to exploit these opportunities. Observing and evaluating relevant new technologies and devel-opments is a key determinant of belonging to the group of SMEs demonstrating strategic en-trepreneurial behaviour. In our sample only a minority belongs to the group of proactive es-tablished SMEs.

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  • Kay, Rosemarie & Nielen, Sebastian & Schröder, Christian, 2018. "SMEs' responses to potentially disruptive innovations: Does strategic entrepreneurship provide an explanation?," Working Papers 06/18, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifmwps:0618

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ireland, R. Duane & Webb, Justin W., 2009. "Crossing the great divide of strategic entrepreneurship: Transitioning between exploration and exploitation," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 469-479, September.
    2. Alessio Cozzolino & Gianmario Verona & Frank T. Rothaermel, 2018. "Unpacking the Disruption Process: New Technology, Business Models, and Incumbent Adaptation," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(7), pages 1166-1202, November.
    3. Denis A. Grégoire & Pamela S. Barr & Dean A. Shepherd, 2010. "Cognitive Processes of Opportunity Recognition: The Role of Structural Alignment," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 21(2), pages 413-431, April.
    4. Matthew J. Mazzei, 2018. "Strategic entrepreneurship: Content, process, context, and outcomes," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 657-670, September.
    5. Duane Ireland, R. & Webb, Justin W., 2007. "Strategic entrepreneurship: Creating competitive advantage through streams of innovation," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-59.
    6. Sabrina Schneider & Patrick Spieth, 2013. "Business Model Innovation: Towards An Integrated Future Research Agenda," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 17(01), pages 1-34.
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    More about this item


    SMEs; Strategic Entrepreneurship; Digitization; Disruptive Innovations; New Business Models;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

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