Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by David Smallbone, Hans Landström and Dylan Jones-Evans
Chapter 12: ICT-Related Small Firms with Different Collaborative Network Structures: Different Species or Variations on a Theme?
Vinit Parida and Mats Westerberg INTRODUCTION Small firms make up the backbone of the modern economy and are an important source of employment and growth (Storey, 1994). Thus, it is essential to understand more about them and how they become successful. As these firms constitute a large heterogeneous group, we have in this study focused on a single industry, namely ICT (information and communication technology) related small firms. These firms deal with technologically oriented products or services, such as developing software, mobile functions and so on. This industry is interesting for several reasons. First, small firms operating in this high-tech industry have the potential to work globally, since many tools in the ICT-related firms tend to be the same all over the world. Second, as they represent a high growth potential industry, they have the potential to generate a higher level of employment and economic development compared with other industries (Delmar et al., 2003). Third, as these firms operate in a dynamic environment, securing their source of competitiveness holds special and urgent value. Finally, many ICT-related small firms are important partners to other firms, which indicates that securing success for this industry can also benefit other firms. Taken together, ICT-related small firms are the forerunners in developing global markets that benefit both themselves and other firms they work with. Investigating how these firms operate and achieve competitive advantage is therefore interesting for both researchers and practitioners. Even if heterogeneity is decreased, all ICT-related small firms are certainly not similar. An...
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