Title: Small and medium sized enterprises and knowledge networks: an initial analysis of the roles of external supporting organisations

Authors: Nick Clifton, David Pickernell, Martyn Senior

Addresses: Creative Leadership & Enterprise Centre, Cardiff School of Management, University of Wales Institute – Cardiff (UWIC), CSM Building, Western Avenue, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2YB, UK. ' Welsh Enterprise Institute, University of Glamorgan Business School, Treforest, Pontypridd, Wales, CF37 1DL, UK. ' School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 3WA, UK

Abstract: This paper presents research examining the effects of network interaction and small medium sized enterprise (SME) performance, with particular regard to the accessing of knowledge for innovation. Economic development policy is increasingly focused on SMEs, creating a clear research issue in terms of the roles and interactions of support bodies and the creation and dissemination of innovation. This paper thus analyses the contribution of a range of external supporting institutions in an innovation creation and dissemination framework – exploring the contribution of networks, and identifying the mechanisms required therein. Bivariate and multivariate (regression) analyses are employed to investigate outcomes in relation to these structures; data is derived from survey responses of over 450 UK SMEs. Results on the conscious use of relational embeddedness show this to be an important indicator of SME performance, but not universally so. In general, we find less support for the factors predicting SME growth outcomes than is the case for innovation. Finally, we outline an agenda for further research in the area.

Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises; UK SMEs; firm growth; innovation; knowledge networks; framework; network interaction; United Kingdom; relational embeddedness; external supporting organisations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSBA.2011.038136

International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2011 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.113 - 134

Published online: 18 Jan 2011 *

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