Is innovation research contingent on competitive context?

Tobias Pehrsson (Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Publication date: 14 March 2016



The purpose of this paper is to extend the understanding of innovation research and its contextual boundaries.


The paper opts for a systematic review of literature on innovation. Based on research in the agricultural and forest industries, it analyzes differences between research conducted in a competitive context of strong rivalry and research in a context characterized by strong buyer power. In particular, the review compares types of innovation under investigation and the level at which the innovation occurs.


It was found that competitive context significantly separates the type of innovation under investigation and innovation at different levels. Thus, the findings provide insights on the importance of competitive context to innovation research.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have implications for the understanding of the sources and directions of innovation, and the formation of innovation at the firm and industry levels. The review also provides a relevant foundation for further research.

Practical implications

The review provides a ground for managerial decision-making regarding innovation. A manager wishing to innovate is advised to evaluate the competitive context. The evaluation is crucial, as the context facilitates different types and levels of innovation.


The review is unique in its emphasis that reviewing studies of innovation requires the consideration of competitive context.



Pehrsson, T. (2016), "Is innovation research contingent on competitive context?", European Business Review, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 225-247.

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