Developing world market-leading companies – innovation governance in German small and medium-sized enterprises
by Harald Dolles
International Journal of Business Environment (IJBE), Vol. 3, No. 2, 2010

Abstract: A high density of highly innovative world market-leading small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) can be found in the rural region Heilbronn-Franconia of Germany. Those are commonly named as 'German hidden champions'. This research aims to reveal factors that influence their innovation governance structure, by examining the firm's characteristics, HRM, organisational structures and leadership styles. All four influencing factors have been explored through semi-structured qualitative interviews with the owners or top-managers of the firms. For evaluation, a qualitative content analysis based on Mayring's suggestions was implemented using NVivo8. With regards to fostering innovation a strong sense of entrepreneurial activity and visionary leadership; emphasis on local recruitment strategies, retention programs and employees' involvement in business processes; formalised innovation processes; informal networks; rigorous knowledge management and open communication modes were discovered.

Online publication date: Thu, 15-Apr-2010

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