Abstract

Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is often assumed to underpin firm growth and the concept is frequently scrutinized on several levels of analyses: Founder, firm, corporate setting and industry. Although many firms may find that EO is underpinning firm growth, for instance in innovation and creativity activities in multinational firms, its application most often is limited to particular departments or teams of employees. Moreover, in further inspection of the concept, it might be relevant to ask whether EO always is facilitating firm growth, or whether it under some conditions even is inhibiting growth. In large firms, the hindering probably is an isolated phenomenon in some divisions and departments. In small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), larger amplitude is expected, due to the more concentrated context, and therefore the hindrance may be devastating, in that growth of the whole firm is halted. This project focuses empirically on SMEs and theoretically on innovation processes; the latter are assumed to carry the artefacts of the limitations of EO. A firm’s core competences are likely to be applied in the processes, and therefore their inclusion is important. The existence of core competences in SMEs is a blind spot in previous research. Therefore, we adopt Prahalad & Hamel’s (1990) criteria for core competence identification and add a customer verification procedure (Ljungquist, 2007) to fit the SME context, for one reason due to the large dependency of the business environment.

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