Knowledge quality, innovation and firm performance: a study of knowledge transfer in SMEs

  • Graciela Corral de Zubielqui
  • Noel Lindsay
  • Wendy Lindsay
  • Janice Jones


Using structural equation modelling on 291 small and medium enterprises in Australia, we examine the impact of knowledge transfers from supply chain actors on innovation and firm performance and how knowledge quality influences these relationships. We find that knowledge transfers from customers and suppliers are positively related to innovativeness, which has a significant influence on firm performance. The results also show that knowledge transfers from suppliers (only) influence knowledge quality, and knowledge transfer from suppliers, in turn, has an indirect effect on innovation through knowledge quality. Thus, the results underscore the importance of knowledge transfers from suppliers to knowledge quality and knowledge transfers from suppliers through knowledge quality for achieving innovation. The results also underline the need to distinguish knowledge transfers from specific actors, in order to understand the influence of knowledge quality on external knowledge transfers and innovation, adding to research into the conditions under which external knowledge transfers contribute to innovation and firm performance.


Knowledge quality Customer and supplier knowledge transfer Innovation Firm performance SMEs 

JEL classifications

L25 L26 O31 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graciela Corral de Zubielqui
    • 1
  • Noel Lindsay
    • 1
  • Wendy Lindsay
    • 1
  • Janice Jones
    • 2
  1. 1.Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC)The University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.College of Business, Government and LawFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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