To read this content please select one of the options below:

International high-tech SMEs innovative foreign knowledge inflows: effects of host country weak network ties and absorptive capacity

David Freund (Department of Organization and Management, Mälardalens University, Västerås, Sweden)
Robert Lee (Department of Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK)
Heinz Tüselmann (Department of Economics, Policy and International Business, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Qi Cao (Department of Economics, Policy and International Business, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 8 June 2020

Issue publication date: 21 August 2020

570

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this study is to explain the combined effects of host country weak network ties and absorptive capacity on the innovative foreign knowledge inflows of international high-tech small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

Data are drawn from the two largest and most authoritative German Federal Government census-databases of biotech and nanotech SMEs. A structured survey questionnaire was administered and regression analysis adopted.

Findings

This study demonstrates weak network ties in the host country and developing absorptive capacity produce a combined effect that positively influences international high-tech SMEs innovative foreign knowledge inflows. Also, host country weak network ties and absorptive capacity when considered separately, each respectively, positively influence innovative foreign knowledge inflows.

Practical implications

The results help inform key personnel in international high-tech SMEs about the relevance of host country weak network ties and absorptive capacity for foreign knowledge inflows. In addition, the results help policymakers and think-tanks to promote tailored advice and guidance e.g. those policymakers implementing the EU Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan.

Originality/value

There is a recent call in the literature to combine network theory and absorptive capacity theory to better explain knowledge creation in the context of international high-tech SMEs knowledge sourcing. By addressing this call, the study provides a more refined and comprehensive account of international high-tech SMEs innovative foreign knowledge inflows.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for permitting access to the “werkstofftechnologien.de/service/nano-map” and “biotechnologie.de/profiles” databases that informed our sample. In addition, we are grateful to the Europa-University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) Germany for administrative support and facilitating the survey waves.

Citation

Freund, D., Lee, R., Tüselmann, H. and Cao, Q. (2020), "International high-tech SMEs innovative foreign knowledge inflows: effects of host country weak network ties and absorptive capacity", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 333-354. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-04-2019-0031

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles