Geographical and cognitive proximity effects on innovation performance in SMEs: a way through knowledge acquisition
This study explores the relative influence of geographical and cognitive proximity to explain innovation performance. This paper deepens the controversy between the significance of both types of proximity, contributing to a better understand their interconnections. The study further analyzes to what extent knowledge acquisition provides a congruent explanation of the effectiveness of innovation in proximity contexts. The paper has tested a structural model based on a sample of 224 Spanish footwear firms. Footwear industry is a mature and traditional industry with a significant presence of the territorial agglomeration of firms all over Spain. Findings suggest both a direct and indirect effect of cognitive proximity on innovation performance. However, an excess of geographical proximity produces spatial lock-in, thus limiting the access to new knowledge and lowering innovations. By contrast, proximity in terms of goals and culture leads firms belonging to a territorial cluster to achieve knowledge acquisition resulting in relevant innovation. Findings suggest that although transferable valuable knowledge exists in clustered contexts firms should adopt a proactive behavior to have access common knowledge and in order to generate effective innovations.
KeywordsGeographical proximity Cognitive proximity Clusters Innovation Knowledge
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