Small Business Economics

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 31–46 | Cite as

Product Innovation in Small and Large Enterprises

  • Charlie Karlsson
  • Ola Olsson


Innovation networks, establishment characteristics and the regional environment are likely to play different roles in product innovation in enterprises of different size. This paper focuses on the influence of the regional environment on the early adoption of micro-electronic components in product development in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises (LEs). Drawing upon existing literature we compare the role of enterprise characteristics, innovation networks and, in particular, the regional environment for an early use of micro-electronic components in product development in SMEs and LEs using a tobit model. Our central hypothesis is that SMEs are more dependent upon their regional environment than LEs for an early adoption. However, this hypothesis is rejected by our empirical results that show that location in a large, dense region has a significant positive effect on product innovation in LEs, while it has a negative but non-significant effect on product innovation in SMEs. Our results imply peripheral regions are able to provide an innovative environment for SMEs, whereas LEs need the richer environment offered by the core regions. The results are also interesting from a policy point of view because they indicate that SMEs can be early users of new technologies even if they are located outside the large urban areas.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlie Karlsson
    • 1
  • Ola Olsson
    • 2
  1. 1.Jönköping International Business SchoolJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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