Innovations have been found to frequently, and increasingly, originate from outside of organizations (Cassiman & Veugelers, 2002; Kostopoulos, Papalexandris, Papachroni, & Ioannou, 2011; Morgan & Berthon, 2008) thus, successfully integrating information from sources external to the firm should be a priority. However, entrepreneurial firms tend to suffer from scarcity of resources – not only due to constraints on financial and physical resources (Kirchhoff, 1994), but also due to the entrepreneur’s limited time and attention span (Garud & Ven de Ven, 1992; Ravasi & Turati, 2005). Determining which external information to pursue, and then to integrate into the innovation process, can be especially challenging.

In this empirical study, we examine how the extent to which entrepreneurial firms seek innovations externally (through boundary spanning activities), and the pursuit of different boundary spanning objectives, may affect firm innovativeness and firm performance. The constraint of limited firm resources in entrepreneurial firms may lead to a point of not only diminishing returns for bringing in learnings from boundary spanning activities intended to drive innovative new products or services.