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Slack resources, exploratory and exploitative innovation and the performance of small technology-based firms at incubators

Danny Soetanto () and Sarah L. Jack
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Danny Soetanto: Lancaster University Management School
Sarah L. Jack: Lancaster University Management School

The Journal of Technology Transfer, 2018, vol. 43, issue 5, 1213-1231

Abstract: Abstract This paper aims to contribute (1) to the understanding about how small technology-based firms in spite of being constrained by limited resources, can still perform exploratory and exploitative innovation and (2) to extend knowledge about the role of slack resources in the context of small technology-based firms in facilitating those innovation activities. Herein, we focus on two types of slack resources: internal slack, resources that are available within the firms and external slack, additional resources that are gathered through the facilitation of external sources such as business incubators. Using a sample of 141 small technology-based firms located at incubators, this study combined two streams of research on incubator studies and innovation to construct some hypotheses examining the role of slack resources and innovation activities in enhancing the performance of small technology-based firms operating in incubator setting. Our findings demonstrate that neither slack resources nor innovation activities alone explain firm performance. Instead, small technology-based firms fit their innovation activities to their slack resources. While the relationship between internal slack and performance is mediated by exploitative innovation, exploratory innovation plays a role as a mediator for the relationship between external slack and performance.

Keywords: Exploration; Exploitation; Innovation; Internal slack; External slack; Mediation; Performance; Incubators (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L26 M13 O32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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