Type
Theme
SOTA Review

Adoption of new technologies and organisational practices: are there innovation benefits? – SOTA No 7

In increasingly competitive environments, the ability to innovate successfully is a key corporate capability, and depends on the wide-ranging, complex decisions faced by firms in their day-to-day operations. International studies report innovation returns from the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies (AMTs), although these returns may be lagged due to initial disruption effects. Likewise, work practices such as innovation strategies, innovation culture and leadership, team-working and multi-functionality are important for innovation. In addition, adoption decisions are not necessarily made in isolation, and there is evidence of higher innovation returns when adoption decisions are made simultaneously.
Individual business surveys rarely consider all three areas (innovation; technology adoption; work practices), therefore we know little about the importance of organisational culture as a pre-condition for the technology adoption–innovation relationship. In addition, longitudinal or panel data is necessary to investigate possible lags to any cause-and-effect relationships.

Authors
Associated Themes
  • Leadership and management practices and SME performance
SOTA Review

Regional Differences Accessing Finance in UK SMEs: Do they matter? – SOTA No 6

In recent years, there has been a growing body of empirical evidence examining spatial variations in access to bank finance in UK SMEs. The overwhelming bulk of this work suggests a firm’s geographic location plays a crucial role its ability to access finance. Innovative and growth-oriented firms seem those most affected. Regions most adversely affected are peripheral and rural areas with sparse bank branch networks. The main causes of these disparities seem to be connected to the pervasive use of new automated lending technologies and the rapid decrease in the size of the UK bank branch network. The knock-on effect of these trends may be increasing the use of other forms of substitutive finance and increased levels of borrower discouragement within SMEs located in peripheral areas. From the evidence base reviewed, it would appear that regional funding gaps do exist and they do matter. The full impact of their effects on firm performance and wider economic growth remain unknown however.

Authors
Associated Themes
  • Finance and Investment
SOTA Review

What Supports the Adoption of Innovations Within Established (non-frontier) Firms? SOTA No 5

The adoption of innovations can be strongly path-dependent and self-reinforcing in established firms. Policy can play a role in shifting the adoption of innovations away from existing technological trajectories towards new, more effective, innovations. This may have positive impacts on growth and productivity. This review addresses the following questions: What are the factors that affect technology change or inertia in established firms? What role can policy-makers play in over-coming such inertia?

Authors
Associated Themes
  • Innovation, internationalisation and growth
SOTA Review

Organisational Learning and Innovation in Supply Chains. SOTA No 4

Evidence that a company’s Organisational Learning Capability (OLC) and their level of innovation performance are positively related has been the focus
of numerous academic studies over recent years. Whilst a significant body of research exists that focusses on learning at company level, little research
exists on how companies operating in supply chains/networks learn and innovate. The dynamics of ‘power’ that exist between companies in the supply
chain often impede learning and the resulting innovation. However, it is critical that a truly effective collaborative and knowledge-sharing
environment is created so that new ideas and innovative solutions to problems are achieved. This review looks at the issues involved in developing
collaborative learning environments within supply chains.

Authors
Associated Themes
  • Strengthening UK supply chains
SOTA Review

How Can We Attract and Retain More Internationally-mobile R&D? SOTA No 3

As the world becomes ‘flatter’ and firms have more locations available in which to site their activities, more and more locations are chasing the ‘holy grail’ of attracting high-tech activity, and particularly R&D. This is, however, often in the absence of a clear strategy of how to retain this investment once it has landed, and how to best encourage interactions between internationally mobile capital to maximise the benefits of that investment for a region. This review explores the empirical literature on the location of R&D and other high- tech or innovation-intensive activities and explores the main findings of this in the context of local economic development or inward investment strategies.

It is important to consider the nature of local labour markets in this context. Attracting high-tech investments often requires a degree of migration into a region. Firms recognise that in these activities they are engaged in a ‘war for talent’ such that earnings growth in these sectors far outstrip more general wage increases. As such, firms need to be convinced that in addition to the pool of labour already in a given location, more can be attracted from elsewhere. This issue is however somewhat at odds with the existing evidence, which focuses on financial incentives or tax policy as the means to attract such investments.

Authors
Associated Themes
SOTA Review

Discouraged Borrowers: Measurement, Determinants and Impact. SOTA No 2

In recent years increasing attention has been paid to SMEs who do not apply for bank finance for fear of rejection - so-called discouraged borrowers. To date, much of the literature has focused on the measurement of discouragement in SMEs. These firms constitute a major proportion of SMEs with some recent research suggesting they number as many as half a million UK SMEs. However, owing to the different definitions of discouragement adopted, comparisons across different studies are problematic. The growing literature on the determinants of discouragement suggests firm size and age are significant, with nascent and smaller SMEs more likely to be discouraged. Entrepreneurs who are older, female from ethnic minority backgrounds with lower levels of human capital and poorer credit ratings, are more likely to be affected. The evidence base on the potential impact of borrower discouragement is less well established. However, available evidence suggests discouragement may result in reduced investment levels and weaker firm performance. The broader and disaggregated definitions of borrower discouragement used in recent studies provide a useful basis for future comparisons and longitudinal tracking.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Investment
SOTA Review

Innovation and Quality Management – What are the links? SOTA No 1

TQM and ISO9000 are two of the most widely adopted quality improvement approaches. What does the evidence suggest about the relationship between these quality improvement approaches and firms’ innovation outcomes? Internationally, SOTA studies of ISO9000 adoption suggest small positive innovation benefits of 2-13 per cent. International studies of TQM adoption also suggest positive innovation benefits of 4-7 per cent with the strongest benefits arising from the ‘soft’ elements of TQM related to work practices and cultural change. A lack of both survey and population data mean we have no evidence of the implications of either ISO9000 or TQM for innovation and firm performance in the UK.

Associated Themes
  • Innovation, internationalisation and growth