Do SMEs Cluster Around Innovation Activities? Discovering Active, Incremental And Opportunistic Innovators

Gian Luca Casali, Roxanne Zolin, Sukanlaya Sawang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Do SMEs cluster around different types of innovation activities? Are there patterns of SME innovation activities? To investigate we develop a taxonomy of innovation activities in SMEs using a qualitative study, followed by a survey. First, based upon our qualitative research and literature review we develop a comprehensive list of innovation activities SMEs typically engage in. We then conduct a factor analysis to determine if these activities can be combined into factors. We identify three innovation activity factors: R&D activities, incremental innovation activities and cost innovation activities. We use these factors to identify three clusters of firms engaging in similar innovation activities: active innovators, incremental innovators and opportunistic innovators. The clusters are enriched by validating that they also exhibit significant internal similarities and external differences in their innovation skills, demographics, industry segments and family business ownership. This research contributes to innovation and SME theory and practice by identifying SME clusters based upon their innovation activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1650062
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number7
Early online date7 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cluster analysis
  • factor analysis
  • Innovation
  • innovation activities
  • SME
  • taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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