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Handbook of Research on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Handbook of Research on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Elgar original reference

Edited by Elizabeth Chell and Mine Karataş-Özkan

This insightful Handbook focuses on behaviour, performance and relationships in small and entrepreneurial firms. It introduces a variety of contemporary topics, research methods and theoretical frameworks that will provide cutting edge analysis, stimulate thought, raise further questions and demonstrate the complexity of the rapidly-advancing field of entrepreneurship.

Chapter 11: Characteristics and behaviours associated with innovative people in small-and medium-sized enterprises

Fiona Patterson and Máire Kerrin

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


As a result of changes in markets and the competitive strategies of large organisations, there is increasing pressure on small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to focus on innovation, innovation capabilities and innovation management (McAdam et al., 2004). Shortening product lifecycles and accelerating technological changes have generated a particular innovation imperative, as well as opportunities for SMEs (O'Regan et al., 2005, cited in Hotho & Champion, 2011). Enhancing innovation in SMEs remains at the heart of policy initiatives for stimulating economic development at the local, regional, national and European levels (Jones and Tilley, 2003). We believe that psychological research on innovation is particularly important, since innovation at work ultimately involves human behaviour. Thus, examining innovation from individual-, group-, and organisational-level applied psychological perspectives may offer a unique perspective on innovation theory and practice. SMEs need to create and sustain conditions relevant to innovation, which broadly relate to facilitating conditions (so that people can innovate) and motivating conditions (so that people are willing to innovate) (Angle, 1989). Moreover, current research evidence indicates that organisations need to understand how to identify the characteristics and behaviours of innovative people and, consequently, how to promote and encourage innovative working within organisations. Although research on human capital is increasingly taking into account social factors, evidence on the psychological determinants of human capital remains a research gap that needs to be filled (Marcati, Guido & Peluso, 2008). In this chapter, we have identified the people-relevant resources for innovation to occur in organisations (see Figure 11.1).

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