Title: Unethical activities of innovation roles in SME export initiation

Authors: Murray Rees

Addresses: School of Fashion and Textiles, College of Design and Social Context, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Abstract: This study investigates unethical activities undertaken by innovation roles involved in the export initiation of small and medium enterprises. Past research has revealed that unethical activities occur in market innovation, such as in exports. However, little work has been done to measure the unethical behaviours of innovation roles in exporting. A semi-structured interview approach was used to collect longitudinal CIT data from those involved in export initiation in 13 Australian SMEs. Analysis using an a priori codebook based on the literature was utilised to identify unethical activities. The results indicate that unethical activities involving decision-makers performing their innovation roles were found in more than half of the cases. This study confirms that unethical incidents occur between importers and exporters, as well as between decision-makers within the exporting firm. The source and direction of unethical activities by innovation roles in export initiation may assist in explaining regular and sporadic export phenomena.

Keywords: innovation roles; champion; sponsor; boundary spanner; gatekeeper; export; ethics; unethical activities; small and medium enterprises; SME; critical incident technique; CIT.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEXPORTM.2017.085451

International Journal of Export Marketing, 2017 Vol.1 No.3, pp.303 - 324

Received: 02 Nov 2016
Accepted: 13 Feb 2017

Published online: 26 Jul 2017 *

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