As SMEs increasingly internationalize their innovation activities, our study strives to improve our understanding of the coordination mechanisms that SMEs can adopt to orchestrate these activities. Building on the evolutionary theory of organizations, we link three established coordination mechanisms (centralization, formalization, and socialization) to the time-to-market of SMEs’ product innovations. We also argue that the complexity of the internationalized R&D tasks moderates the relationship between the three coordination mechanisms and time-to-market. Survey data from 103 SMEs with international innovation activities broadly support our theoretical account. With respect to the main effects, our findings suggest that a high degree of centralization tends to prolong the time-to-market, whereas formalization tends to shorten it. The moderation results further indicate that centralization can become more beneficial when a firm internationalizes highly complex R&D tasks, while formalization tends to become less beneficial with increasing task complexity. Main and moderation effects with respect to socialization are inconclusive. We discuss the implications of these findings for the academic literature and management practice.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 23, 2015
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