Department of Economics and Business Economics

Analysis of SMEs partner proximity preferences for process innovation

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This paper explores small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) proximity preferences when selecting partners for collaborative process innovation. Drawing on a survey of 362 Danish SMEs, we address four partner proximity characteristics: geographic, cognitive, organizational, and social. The results show that SMEs prioritize geographic openness over regional clustering. Furthermore, to simultaneously facilitate collaboration and ensure innovation, firms tend to collaborate with partners that are characterized by cognitive similarity at a technological level and knowledge distance at a market level. Technological proximity is also found to be more relevant than social proximity when it comes to bridging the potential geographic and market distance between the collaborative partners. Finally, the results indicate that the tendency of organizational proximity to facilitate informal interactions with partners enhances process innovation only at two of four process innovation levels. Thus, the results highlight the fact that the value of partner proximity characteristics change with the level of process innovation considered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Business Economics
Volume51
Issue4
Pages (from-to)879–904
Number of pages26
ISSN0921-898X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • COLLABORATION, KNOWLEDGE, MANAGEMENT, ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE, PERIPHERAL REGIONS, PRODUCT, Partner collaboration, Process innovation, Proximity, RELATIONAL EMBEDDEDNESS, RESEARCH-AND-DEVELOPMENT, SPATIAL PROXIMITY, TECHNOLOGICAL-INNOVATION

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