Innovation orientation and export behaviour: insights into a typology of UK SMEs

Do, Hang, Cowling, Marc and Blackburn, Robert (2016) Innovation orientation and export behaviour: insights into a typology of UK SMEs. In: RENT XXX: Innovation, Relational Networks, Technology and Knowledge Transfer as Drivers of Global Competitiveness; 16-18 Nov 2016, Antwerp, Belgium.


Drawing on a survey of 500 UK small business owner-managers, the study develops a typology of innovative SMEs. Examined factors include firm size, firm growth, owner-managers’ expectation, export behaviour, and their perceived barriers to export in relation to their capabilities including products/services, business plan, knowledge, resources. External barriers include factors such as market competition and government regulations. Our findings show that product innovators are found to encounter more barriers to export, in comparison with process innovators or firms developing a combination of innovations. Product innovators are more likely to suffer from their limited export knowledge, language, and logistics problems, which influence their export behaviour. On the other hand, process innovators perceive the lack of focus on exporting in their business plan as a main constraint to their export behaviour. However, interestingly this firm cluster reported having the highest expectations of firm growth compared to other firm groups. Our results clarify different critical factors determining owner-managers’ perceptions and behaviour towards export. Furthermore, the findings provide practitioners with insights into the impact of the firms’ business capabilities, their innovation adoption, and export behaviour. The analysis also contributes to deepen policy-makers’ knowledge of identifying relevant supporting initiatives for SMEs to boost their export and innovation performance.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page