Title: Entrepreneurial learning and innovation: qualitative evidence from agri-business technology-based small firms in New Zealand

Authors: David Deakins; Jo Bensemann

Addresses: Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YX, UK ' School of Management, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

Abstract: The focus of this paper is on the nexus between entrepreneurial learning and the innovation process. In particular, the role that entrepreneurial learning plays in the innovation process. We have collected qualitative interview evidence with a sample of 30 technology-based small firms (TBSFs) engaged in the innovation process. TBSFs are highly diverse, defying consistent definitions, and operate across different sectors, but our sample is drawn solely from the agri-business sector within the unique environment of New Zealand. The literature on entrepreneurial learning is now well established and has identified the importance of both individual entrepreneurial learning and organisational learning for the determination of dynamic capability in TBSFs. Similarly, the literature on the innovation process in small firms and TBSFs is well established indicating the expected resource constraints and challenges from theory in the innovation process for TBSFs. However, no previous research has examined the role of entrepreneurial learning in the innovation process with TBSFs. We present qualitative interview evidence that demonstrates that entrepreneurial learning has a critical role in the innovation process enabling TBSFs to overcome resource constraints and challenges in a lean contextual environment such as New Zealand.

Keywords: New Zealand; entrepreneurial learning; innovation; agri-business; technology-based small firms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2018.091091

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2018 Vol.23 No.3, pp.318 - 338

Received: 24 Nov 2016
Accepted: 03 Mar 2017

Published online: 02 Feb 2018 *

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