A cross‐cultural analysis of intellectual asset protection in SMEs: The effect of environmental scanning

Céline Bérard (Université Paris‐Dauphine, Paris, France and School of Management, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Hélène Delerue (Department of Management and Technology, School of Management, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 18 May 2010

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the effect of national culture on the capacity of small and medium‐sized biotechnology enterprises to protect their intellectual assets by analysing the mediator role of environmental scanning behaviour. The extent to which environmental scanning behaviour helps firms to protect their intellectual assets is investigated, and the effects of national cultural values on environmental scanning behaviour are analysed.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses are tested with survey data from 123 biotechnology SMEs located in 14 countries.

Findings

Environmental scanning appears to be an important step in the intellectual property strategy, as it enhances the firm's capacity to protect its intellectual assets. Nevertheless, the results show that firms located in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance, high power distance and low individualism do more scanning, whereas the capacity to protect intellectual assets is perceived as being more important in firms located in cultures with low uncertainty avoidance, low power distance and high individualism.

Research limitations/implications

Certain limitations should be noted. For instance, the research is based on cross‐sectional data, which provide limited insight into the temporal aspects of dynamic environments.

Practical implications

The study has important implications for practitioners. It demonstrates that, in international working relationships, cultural values have a direct effect on environmental scanning behaviour, and hence an indirect effect on intellectual property (IP) protection capability. Given the strategic importance of scanning and IP for innovative firms, the results could help managers to make strategic decisions, specifically in R&D internationalization through decentralization or partnership.

Originality/value

Although few studies have empirically analysed the role of environmental scanning in a particular domain, such as intellectual property strategic management, or adopted a comparative cross‐cultural design to do so, this paper investigates the role of environmental scanning in intellectual property strategy from a cross‐cultural perspective.

Keywords

Citation

Bérard, C. and Delerue, H. (2010), "A cross‐cultural analysis of intellectual asset protection in SMEs: The effect of environmental scanning", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 167-183. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626001011041193

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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