Review of Managerial Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 543–569 | Cite as

Determinants of innovativeness in SMEs: disentangling core innovation and technology adoption capabilities

Original Paper


This paper studies innovativeness in SMEs from a set of innovation indicators at the firm level, capturing various types of innovation (product, process, organisational, and marketing innovations) and the level of innovativeness in these firm’s developments. The article identifies two separate dimensions in the innovativeness of Spanish SMEs, using factor analysis techniques. One dimension is associated with the capabilities for core/internal innovation and the other with the capabilities for the adoption of technology. The paper shows that significant differences exist in the personal and organisational factors that favour these two dimensions. The entrepreneur’s motivation, business planning, and cooperation in R&D activities constitute significant factors when considering the core dimension of a firechnology adoption. However, the use of external consultancy services seems to have no significant effect on the core dimension of the innovativeness of an SME, whereas it is a relevant factor for its technology adoption. Furthermore, it is shown that the entrepreneur’s education plays a more significant role in the core dimension of a firm’s innovativeness than in its capabilities for technology adoption. Depending on the policy objectives, these differences should lead to the application of specific policy approaches when an attempt to stimulate innovation in SMEs is made.


Innovation Innovativeness SMEs Entrepreneur Spain 

JEL Classification

O31 R11 M21 



This article is part of the “Excellence” Research Project entitled “Analysing the qualitative aspects shaping the quality of entrepreneurs and SMEs: Implications for the economic development of the Spanish Regions” (P09-SEJ-4857), funded by the Regional Government of Andalusia (Spain) with the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The article has also benefited from the Project entitled “Tourism SMEs, Global Value Chains and Innovation” (ECO2013-42889-P) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (National Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business SciencesUniversity of SevilleSevilleSpain

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