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Product innovativeness and performance: a focus on SMEs

Helen Salavou (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
George Avlonitis (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 August 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to classify firms according to dimensions of product innovativeness (PI) and identify differences in performance on the product and the firm basis in the context of SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

To answer the questions this empirical study raises, a sample of 128 SMEs is clustered on the basis of the PI construct. After validating the clusters, an analysis of variance is performed to detect differences, if any, across performance measures on PI profiles of SMEs.

Findings

This paper provides evidence in support of three groups featuring different levels of PI, namely the straight imitators (low PI), the product innovators (high PI) and the concept innovators (medium PI). Further, it shows that these groups demonstrate differences in their performance potential at the product but not at the firm level.

Research limitations/implications

This paper refers to an empirical study of SMEs in a European Union (EU) member state since 1981, namely Greece, which is far from restricted to the evidence provided herein. Further research is needed to confirm and extend the present results by replicating the principal features of this study with SMEs in countries within the EU, especially small ones.

Practical implications

The identification of successful PI profiles could become a major challenge to the management of SMEs. At a national context, this identification could direct efforts in designing different supportive actions for different groups of SMEs according to their PI profiles within the wider EU innovation policy initiatives.

Originality/value

The paper provides insights into supportive actions for different groups of SMEs according to their PI profiles.

Keywords

Citation

Salavou, H. and Avlonitis, G. (2008), "Product innovativeness and performance: a focus on SMEs", Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 7, pp. 969-985. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740810890168

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited