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Article

Brian Healy, Michele O’Dwyer and Ann Ledwith

Product advantage is consistently identified as the most important product characteristic in explaining the adoption and success of a new product. In small- and…

Abstract

Purpose

Product advantage is consistently identified as the most important product characteristic in explaining the adoption and success of a new product. In small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), in particular, improving new product performance is critical in supporting SME survival and growth. Given that SMEs are a vital component of most economies improving their ability to effectively launch new products is an essential activity for sustainability. However, although literature illustrates that developing products with high levels of product advantage and new product development is advantageous, few studies have explored product advantage activities in SMEs and consequently research on product advantage is over-reliant on large firm studies. Given the specific resource constraints which challenge SME new product development (i.e. financial, expertise, access to networks etc.) context-specific research is critical. The purpose of this paper is to address these gaps in literature by exploring the product advantage activities in four manufacturing SMEs actively engaged in product development.

Design/methodology/approach

The research question centres on exploring the antecedents of product advantage in SMEs (market uncertainties, competitive intensity, resource uncertainties and technological uncertainties) in the context of multi-dimensional perspective of product advantage (consisting of product innovativeness, product superiority and product meaningfulness). A qualitative interpretivist approach was used to explore the research question exploring the antecedents to, and nature of, product advantage in SMEs. Case studies were used to inductively and holistically view SMEs in their entirety, this approach facilitated in-depth understanding of the reality of the SME and allowed for the interpretation of the SMEs owner/managers perspectives on product advantage.

Findings

The empirical findings suggest that the most significant antecedent of product advantage in the case SMEs was competitive intensity followed by technology uncertainty and resource uncertainty and then market uncertainty. Product advantage was found to be strongly based on product meaningfulness with elements of product innovativeness and product superiority also defining their perspective of product advantage.

Research limitations/implications

There are several implications for SME owner/managers arising from this study. In the context of these findings, SMEs need to carefully consider three issues in supporting their new product development: first, their dependence on letting existing customers drives their new product development; second, owner/manager perceptions of product advantage are focused on delivering guaranteed sales, this focus nurtures incremental continuous product development rather than radical discontinuous innovation. While this strategy is low risk and supports SME sustainability, it could lead to less ambitious innovation strategies and slower growth for SMEs; third, antecedents of product advantage such as competitive intensity, technology uncertainty and resource uncertainty and market uncertainty need to carefully managed.

Originality/value

This study illustrates the complex nature of the antecedents and nature of product advantage in SMEs. The study provides insight into the product advantage characteristics that SMEs consider important in the development of new products. Different elements of each of the three product advantage constructs (product meaningfulness, product superiority and customer meaningfulness) are considered important under different conditions. Throughout this analysis, market needs and wants, technology, competitors and resources emerged as the defining conditions upon which product advantage decisions are based. More specifically knowledge regarding the market, technology, competition and the availability of resources dictated the type and levels of advantages that were presented in new products.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article

David Cosgrave and Michele O'Dwyer

This study explores the millennial perceptions of cause-related marketing (CRM) in international markets through the lens of an ethical continuum. Literature gaps exist in…

Abstract

Purpose

This study explores the millennial perceptions of cause-related marketing (CRM) in international markets through the lens of an ethical continuum. Literature gaps exist in our understanding of cause-related marketing, ethics and millennials in an international context, with few studies offering insights into successful CRM campaigns in developed vs developing countries. Previous studies have yielded differing responses based on culture, sociodemographic and consumer perceptions.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory qualitative research method was adopted to build the theory necessary to address this research gap. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 155 undergraduate and postgraduate students representing 17 nationalities. Interviews were conducted in two regions (Ireland and United Arab Emirates) representing developed and developing markets.

Findings

Discrepancies exist between millennial consumers when it comes to ethical self-reporting, perceptions of CRM initiatives, choice criteria of CRM offers and purchase intentions. Findings also suggest that there is a relationship between the religious and ethical beliefs of millennials in certain regions. Gender showed no significant differences in perceptions of CRM.

Originality/value

This study examines millennial perceptions of CRM from multiple nationalities in developed vs developing markets. It introduces the ethical continuum in international CRM as a lens to examine perceptions of millennial consumers. The study identifies that millennials should not be treated as a homogenous group, suggesting different choice criteria of millennial consumers based on their ethical standards. It demonstrates emerging support for the role of religion in successful adoption of CRM.

Details

International Marketing Review, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-1335

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Article

Naomi Lawless, John Allan and Michele O’Dwyer

In the past, too many government sponsored initiatives have presented valuable learning resources which have been wasted because the target small business audience have…

Abstract

In the past, too many government sponsored initiatives have presented valuable learning resources which have been wasted because the target small business audience have failed to utilise them. This paper explores the issue of offering learning materials to small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises in a manner which recognises their working environment, mode of operation and preferred learning methods, and after addressing these, outlines differing methods at present being tested in the UK and Ireland. The two methodologies are different in that one programme is aimed at distance learning in primarily small businesses, whilst the other is aimed at face‐to‐face learning primarily in micro‐enterprises. It is the contrast between the two which we hope will indicate those common elements in the two methodologies that can specify an ideal path for educating/training micro and small enterprises – the vast bulk of EU organisations.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 42 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Brian Healy, Ann Ledwith and Michele O'Dwyer

This paper aims to extend previous studies on new product development (NPD) performance by identifying the product advantage, new product performance and organisational…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to extend previous studies on new product development (NPD) performance by identifying the product advantage, new product performance and organisational performance indicators that are considered by small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) to be most relevant to their performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative research approach was adopted, using a cross-sectional survey of a sample of 137 firms representing the industry sectors active within the Irish economy. The research instrument was based on existing recognised research measures.

Findings

The results suggest that: large firms consider that their products derive advantage through product quality and cost, while SMEs are more concerned with satisfying customer needs; larger firms concentrate on market measures in measuring new product performance, while SMEs focus on customer acceptance measures; and in measuring organisational performance larger firms focus on market share and profitability, while SMEs concentrate on profitability and sales growth.

Research limitations/implications

This study identifies the aspects of product advantage, new product performance and organisational performance on which firms concentrate, thereby increasing our ability to redirect their focus from what they consider to be important, to what will have an impact on their firm's performance.

Originality/value

This study identifies the aspects of product advantage, new product performance and organisational performance on which firms concentrate, thereby increasing our ability to redirect their focus from what they consider to be important, to what will have an impact on their firm's performance.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article

Michèle O’Dwyer and Eamon Ryan

This paper focuses on the development and evaluation of a management development programme for owner/managers of independent retail businesses in Limerick City. It…

Abstract

This paper focuses on the development and evaluation of a management development programme for owner/managers of independent retail businesses in Limerick City. It describes the objectives of the programme, the selection mechanism for participants, the programme content and an extensive evaluation of the programme focusing on pre‐, interim and post‐course evaluation.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 26 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

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Article

Angelica Risquez, Michele O'Dwyer and Ann Ledwith

This paper seeks to explore the relationship between entrepreneurship students' ethical views on plagiarism, their self reported engagement in plagiarism and their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore the relationship between entrepreneurship students' ethical views on plagiarism, their self reported engagement in plagiarism and their participation in an online plagiarism prevention tutorial.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a questionnaire administered to 434 undergraduate university entrepreneurship students, combining self‐reported data with behavioural measures.

Findings

The results illustrate that more than one online plagiarism prevention tutorial is required to change self‐reported views relating to engagement in plagiarism, perception of peer participation in plagiarism and students' ethical views. However, it should be noted that even such a small intervention demonstrates an observable difference in students' capacity to recognise a case of verbatim plagiarism as an academic breach in practice.

Research limitations/implications

The research demonstrates that educators should focus on good educational design, educating students regarding plagiarism prevention while making use of technology enhanced learning, instead of considering e‐learning choices as a quick solution to plagiarism.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on an emerging aspect of plagiarism education, that is, the use of technology enhanced learning. While acknowledging the potential of technology enhanced learning in plagiarism prevention the paper notes that plagiarism prevention should be embedded in the curriculum rather than addressed in an ad‐hoc manner.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 53 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Michèle O'Dwyer

The nature of the international corporate public relations function is the substance of ongoing debate by both leading public relations academics and practitioners, with…

Abstract

Purpose

The nature of the international corporate public relations function is the substance of ongoing debate by both leading public relations academics and practitioners, with the predominant body of literature advocating public relations as a management rather than a line function. This ongoing debate formed the basis of a 1993 exploration of public relations as a management function within Irish companies, which concluded that public relations was a line rather than management function at that time. In light of changes in the intervening decade, this article aims to assess the evolution of public relations practice to date.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results of longitudinal research undertaken in 2003, replicating the 1993 study with the original participant companies, addressing seven key prerequisites identified from literature in the classification of public relations as a management function.

Findings

Based on an exploration of these prerequisites the paper concludes that the public relations function in the companies surveyed is now a management function.

Research limitations/implications

The research undertaken illustrates further possibilities in longitudinal research with the same companies in addition to illuminating the wider possibilities in both public relations practitioner and function research. Furthermore, qualitative research adopting either a case study or depth interview methodology would add greater understanding the nature, development and complexities of public relations in Irish companies.

Practical implications

The paper notes the progression of public relations from a line to a management function. This progression will have implications for the education and management of the public relations practitioner and the positioning of the function within organisations.

Originality/value

The paper depicts a longitudinal study of public relations in Ireland. The paper is of value to both academics and practitioners in benchmarking the progression of public relations.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 39 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Michele O'Dwyer, Audrey Gilmore and David Carson

The purpose of this paper was to investigate the concept of innovative marketing and how it manifests itself in the context of small‐to medium‐sized enterprises.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to investigate the concept of innovative marketing and how it manifests itself in the context of small‐to medium‐sized enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature relating to the characteristics of SMEs, and innovative marketing are reviewed to identify the key elements of innovative marketing and SMEs. This review and the key elements identified contribute to an overall conceptualisation of innovative marketing for SMEs.

Findings

The discussion considers and provides a description of innovative marketing in SMEs. Innovative marketing does not just relate to products, new product development, and technological development but is also evident in other aspects of marketing related activities and decisions and is very specific to the context and needs of the SME.

Originality/value

The focus of this paper is on taking the relevant themes from the literature and considering them in the light of SME marketing and in the context of SME business activities.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 43 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article

Ann Ledwith and Michele O'Dwyer

The importance of new product development to the survival and success of firms is well supported in the literature; however, few studies have investigated new product…

Abstract

Purpose

The importance of new product development to the survival and success of firms is well supported in the literature; however, few studies have investigated new product development in small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). This study aims to examine the impact of product launch, product advantage and market orientation on new product development performance and organisational performance in SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

This model was tested using data collected from 48 small and large sized firms in Ireland. Findings from 33 small and 15 large firms were compared, and a correlation analysis was used to establish the relationships defined in the model for both small and large firms.

Findings

The study identified several significant differences between the impact of product launch, product advantage and market orientation on new product development and organisational performance in small and large firms. It also indicated several areas in which small firms can improve their new product and organisational performance.

Research limitations/implications

This research builds on prior empirical research that has established a positive link between customer and competitor orientation and performance of small firms.

Practical/implications

The managerial implications suggest that managers need to place a greater emphasis on product launch proficiency, new product characteristics and market orientation.

Originality/value

The results show that a market orientation, as well as having a direct impact on organisational performance, also affects new product development activities.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article

Michele O'Dwyer, Audrey Gilmore and David Carson

Previous research has identified and clarified the nature of innovative marketing in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), providing a list of key constituent…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research has identified and clarified the nature of innovative marketing in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), providing a list of key constituent elements. While this list of innovative marketing variables goes some way towards explaining the nature of innovative marketing it does not aid the understanding of the relevance and inter‐relationship of these variables. The aim of this paper is to develop a theoretical framework to facilitate further exploration of the core elements of innovative marketing in SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach is adopted in order to facilitate the emergence of new theoretical relationships based on the understanding of the complex and dynamic nature of innovative marketing in SMEs. Eight case SMEs are recruited, two of the case SMEs from the service industry, three from manufacturing and three of the SMEs combined elements of both service and manufacturing.

Findings

The findings of the study illustrate the component parts of innovative marketing and the inter‐relationships between those parts in accordance with their role in innovative marketing and practices in SMEs. In order to categorise SME innovative marketing constructs, the conceptual framework transformation, assimilation, prediction and exceptionality (TAPE) is developed from relevant literature. This helps to encapsulate and explore elements of SME innovative marketing. Based on this study, the TAPE framework can more appropriately be changed to transformation, assimilation and prediction (TAP), to reflect the finding that exceptionality is inconclusive in terms of its relevance to innovative marketing in SMEs. The exclusion of exceptionality from the framework is a surprising insight emanating from the research as it contradicts previous studies. Traditionally, these elements will have been considered to be the core of innovative marketing. The conclusion here is that exceptionality be treated with caution in relation to SMEs.

Originality/value

This paper presents a theoretical framework TAPE to re‐conceptualise elements of innovative marketing. In light of the role each element plays in SME marketing activities and practices, this paper confirms the value of TAP but not exceptionality.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

Keywords

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