Title: Partnerships and innovative patterns in small and medium enterprises

Authors: Elena Cefis, Mihaela Ghita, Anna Sabidussi

Addresses: University of Bergamo, Italy; T.C. Koopmans Research Institute, Utrecht School of Economics, Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 12, 3512 BL Utrecht, The Netherlands. ' Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Antwerp, Stad Campus – SB.312, Prinsstratt 13, BE – 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium. ' Department of Business Administration, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of cooperation agreements as possible drivers of innovative performance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on the theoretical paradigm of |open innovation| and on empirical evidence of the existence of a |threshold to innovate|, we analyse whether partnership agreements act as determinants for the SMEs to cross the innovative threshold or to persist in innovation activities. Our findings suggest that adopting cooperative strategies is beneficial for companies in order to become and/or remain innovators. Distinguishing among size classes, the collaborative advantage seems to be higher for the SMEs: joining forces with other companies, the SMEs can overcome the limits derived from their scarce resources and become active innovators.

Keywords: cooperation; partnerships; iopen innovation; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; probit.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2009.023360

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2009 Vol.7 No.4, pp.431 - 445

Published online: 20 Feb 2009 *

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