Implementing innovation management in manufacturing SMEs: A longitudinal study

Rodney McAdam, William Keogh, Renee S. Sid, Neil Mitchell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - The purpose of this research is to evaluate the longitudinal effect of innovation programmes on improving the process of innovation in manufacturing SMEs. The process of innovation in organisations covers people, process and technology. Therefore interventions in the form of innovation improvement programmes often require high levels of complexity. This complexity is compounded in SMEs, where issues such as scarce resources and skill shortages must be recognised. Design/methodology/approach - A multiple case research methodology combined with an innovation evaluation model is used to evaluate the longitudinal effect of an innovation intervention programme, which combined taught modules and Critical Action Learning networks over an eighteen month period. Within-group comparisons are made. Findings/research implications - The findings reveal that SMEs, which have high levels of innovation improvement, adopted a broad process based approach to innovation rather than using a narrow technical definition of innovation. These SMEs also developed a process of critically reflective action learning to ground the innovation in organisational practice. Originality/value - There is a paucity of longitudinal research studies on innovation interventions in SMEs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-403
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Learning
    • Manufacturing industries
    • Organizational innovation
    • Small to medium-sized enterprises


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