Open innovation in SMEs and the role of the external network: A systematic literature review

Hyslop, Katie (2015) Open innovation in SMEs and the role of the external network: A systematic literature review. Working Papers / Institut für KMU-Management, 2015/02. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Institut für KMU-Management, Vienna.


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Ever since Henry Chesbrough coined the term in 2003, the number of studies exploring the new paradigm of open innovation (OI) has grown exponentially, with researchers investigating and exploring the application of open principles in an array of industrial and geographical contexts. Despite this growing interest from the scientific community as well as practitioners, our understanding of the implementation of open principles from an SME perspective remains, to a large extent, underdeveloped. In particular, uncovering how the SME can best exploit and manage their external network to facilitate both exploration and exploitation activities has, thus far, been largely neglected. Therefore, an exploration of the implementation and successful management of OI projects in smaller firms from a network perspective, through a systematic review and assimilation of the current body of extant studies seems a timely and necessary step, in order to form a roadmap for a future research agenda. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to shed light on the antecedents and outcomes of successful OI network management in small firms. Systematic analysis of 51 extant studies reveals that many barriers associated with implementing OI in SMEs often referred to as liability of smallness, can be overcome by the effective network management, coupled with the implementation of an open culture. Openness can also be seen to be positively related to business model flexibility and adaptability. Results though, remain unclear on the exact role of the intermediary and whether entrepreneurial capacity, trust, increased social interaction and goal alignment among the SME and their network partners, as well as network unity and conflict mitigation/resolution can be described as a driver for, or an outcome of successful open projects. Therefore, these potential relationships between openness and managerial capacity are proposed for further empirical testing and analysis. The paper concludes by presenting a map for future research, incorporating a series of propositions suggested during the analysis and consolidating these issues into a framework of suggestions for future research.

Item Type: Paper
Keywords: Klein- und Mittelbetrieb / Open Innovation / Netzwerkmanagement
Classification Codes: RVK QP 210, QP 310
Divisions: Departments > Welthandel > KMU-Management
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2015 09:23
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 00:41


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