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SME innovativeness in buyer–seller alliances: effects of entry timing strategies and inter-organizational learning

Abstract

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to carefully decide their innovation timing and the associated market entry strategy to initiate change. The question of taking either a pioneer or a follower strategy for the innovation’s market entry has so far delivered controversial empirical results in large enterprises, while the performance implications of SMEs have been widely ignored. This is where our research sets out, investigating 169 established SMEs in a longitudinal study, with our results showing that SMEs take advantage of a pioneer strategy. As researched by a moderator analysis, a follower strategy can even have a reductive effect on performance: SMEs are not able to combine knowledge with allies downstream in the supply chain. Overall, our study delivers new insights into qualitative and quantitative change of established SMEs by employing a research design looking at the performance effects of strategies and knowledge combination among firms.

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Correspondence to Ricarda B. Bouncken.

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Bouncken, R.B., Pesch, R. & Kraus, S. SME innovativeness in buyer–seller alliances: effects of entry timing strategies and inter-organizational learning. Rev Manag Sci 9, 361–384 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-014-0160-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-014-0160-6

Keywords

  • SME
  • Innovativeness
  • Supply chain partnerships
  • Innovation timing
  • Market entry

JEL Classification

  • L26
  • M10
  • O32