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Tanja Lepistö, Satu Aaltonen and Ulla Hytti

This chapter focuses on co-creation between partners in a micro-firm context. It adopts a strategy-as-practice view in analysing how strategy is constructed in a dialogue between independent consultants in a partnership. The analysis identified five practices of dialoguing: (1) about the customer, (2) of who we are and what we do, (3) of varied experience and knowledge in customer co-operation, (4) of the required steps regarding the future, and (5) of the need for a customer perspective. Integration of varied expertise, expectations and interests flow from active dialogue and compromises made by the actors in strategic planning. The findings also indicate tco-strategizing in micro firms is an iterative and ongoing process that needs time and space to develop in the midst of business as usual. The practical importance of this analysis lies in providing insights for firms in relation to why and how co-strategizing can prove beneficial.

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Heikki Rannikko, Erno Tornikoski, Anders Isaksson, Hans Löfsten and Hanna Rydehell

This chapter investigates the survival and growth trends in a cohort of new technology-based firms (NTBFs) established in Sweden in 2006. We make several contributions to the current understanding of NTBF survival and growth. First, our empirical observations show that many firms (70 per cent) from the 2006 cohort of NTBFs were still operating at the end of 2014, a much higher survival rate than found in previous studies. Second, very few firms experience high growth during their first seven years, and employment growth and sales growth are highly correlated among high-growth firms. Third, challenges of measuring growth in new and very small firms using the ‘kink-point’ approach are addressed.

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The Dynamics of Entrepreneurial Contexts

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Ulla Hytti, Robert Blackburn and Silke Tegtmeier

Context is everything in entrepreneurship research. This book compellingly demonstrates the ways in which the distinctive European cultural, societal and geographic environments enable research into new entrepreneurial phenomena. It also gives guidance as to how future research should endeavour to understand the influences of context.
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Edited by Ulla Hytti, Robert Blackburn and Eddy Laveren

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Ulla Hytti, Robert Blackburn and Eddy Laveren

This chapter introduces the book and its contributions by connecting them to broader discussions and debates in the European entrepreneurship research scene.

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Alfredo De Massis and Paola Rovelli

Innovation is widely recognized as a key asset for firms, positively affecting performance, growth, long-term value creation, and competitive advantage. When studying innovation, scholars usually focus on large and listed firms, while relatively limited knowledge exists on innovation in family firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, these are the most ubiquitous forms of business organization around the world and overlooking their distinctive features may limit current understanding about innovation. In this chapter, we highlight relevant research avenues and unaddressed questions for future research on innovation in family firms and SMEs. In so doing, we outline a future research agenda that will hopefully guide future scholars interested in innovation in the context of family firms and SMEs.

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Eva J.B. Jørgensen and Line Mathisen

In this study, we argue that speed of innovation is important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural contexts because their location often restricts economies of scale and competing on price of delivery. We study speed of innovation with an emphasis on proximity between external actors and the firm. We use a qualitative single-case study approach to investigate the innovation process in a manufacturing SME within the plastic industry located in northern Norway. We investigate the speed in the development phase and the launching phase through retrospective informant stories. Our main findings are that dimensions, degree, and dynamics of proximity in relationships to external actors influence speed of innovation. For SMEs in rural contexts, geographical proximity varies across the different phases and actors, and is a foundation for the development of social and cognitive proximity. In addition, we found that social proximity is important to implement the opportunity potential in terms of cognitive proximity.

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David Aylward, Leana Reinl and Felicity Kelliher

Research reveals little about how rural micro firms learn as they collaborate for tourism development. Drawing from Lave and Wenger’s (1991) community of practice perspective, this chapter explores the elements related to micro-firm community learning and presents the findings of an interpretivist multi-case study of two evolving learning communities (ELC) engaged in rural tourism development in Wales and Canada. The literature review reveals catalyst, structure, strategy and boundary as elements which impact sustained learning in this setting. Empirical findings demonstrate that learner autonomy is challenging in both cases while the literary identified elements shaped learning relationships differently in each case. An ELC model adapted from prior research (Reinl and Kelliher, 2014) is presented. Progressive brokerage is emphasised as a fundamental competence for sustainable learning in this environment. Calling for a sustainable learning orientation, recommendations are offered to optimise ELC support and avenues for future research are outlined.

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Valérie François, Christophe Lafaye and Matthieu Belarouci

This chapter studies the role of internal and external social capital on growth from a contextual point of view. To this end, we analyse the perceived utility of support received from the relational network of 104 entrepreneurs from innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (‘organizational context’) during their first years of existence (‘temporal context) and that have benefited from public support from the French Nord-Pas-de-Calais region (‘institutional context’). We found that during the early years, the external social capital of young business ventures appears to be a decisive factor in its growth. This is not true, however, of internal social capital. Moreover, while belonging to a cluster impacts on growth, we observed no significant impact of clusters on the link between social capital relations and growth. Joining an incubator, on the other hand, had no impact on either growth or the relations studied.

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Sanna Joensuu-Salo, Kirsti Sorama and Salla Kettunen

This chapter analyses (1) the impact of market orientation (MO) and marketing capability on the business performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the forest sector, and (2) the difference of this impact between internationalized SMEs and SMEs operating only in domestic markets within this sector. The data for this study comes from Finnish SMEs. Linear regression analysis showed that MO did not have a direct effect on the performance but marketing capability did. Therefore, an indirect effect was tested using path analysis. The final empirical path model was tested separately for internationalized SMEs and SMEs operating only in domestic markets. In the final model, marketing capability mediates the effect of MO on performance. Marketing capability had more value in explaining the business performance of internationalized SMEs than SMEs operating only in domestic markets.