Title: SME opportunity for growth or profit: what is the role of product and process improvement?

Authors: Timothy L. Pett, James A. Wolff

Addresses: Center for Entrepreneurship, W.F. Barton School of Business, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67260-0147, USA. ' Department of Management, W.F. Barton School of Business, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67260-0147, USA

Abstract: The process by which small firms avail themselves of the opportunity for growth or profitability is an important issue for firm managers and researchers alike. This study develops a conceptual research model that examines SME opportunities for growth or profitability – two dimensions of performance – derive from innovation that is product improvement oriented or process improvement oriented. The innovation/performance relationship is examined within the context of environmental uncertainty and SME internationalisation actions. The findings of the study suggest that internationalisation and innovation have a positive relationship to product improvements and process improvements, while environmental uncertainty, internationalisation and product improvement have positive relationships with growth as a performance dimension. Indeed opportunity for growth seems to be a more important dimension for SMEs in the sample.

Keywords: SME performance; innovation; SME internationalisation; product improvement; process improvement; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; firm growth.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2009.023817

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2009 Vol.1 No.1, pp.5 - 21

Published online: 13 Mar 2009 *

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