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Do Customer and Technology Orientations Influence Product Innovativeness in SMEs? Some New Evidence from Greece

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Abstract:

Due to the recently articulated need for a better understanding of product innovativeness determinants, this study focuses on firm-specific factors that influence the innovativeness level of new products. A path analysis model pertaining to a dataset of 150 manufacturing SMEs in Greece is applied to examine customer and technology orientations' direct effects on product newness to customers on the one hand and their indirect effects through learning orientation on new product uniqueness on the other. Empirical results indicate that technology orientation is more important than customer orientation in explaining product newness to customers and thus increases the chances of the firm producing a new product beyond their experiences and consumption patterns. They also suggest that learning orientation being enhanced by stronger customer and technology orientations constitutes a key organisational capability in creating more unique new products for the market. These findings are discussed in the context of Greek SMEs in the food & beverages and textile industries, taking into account the specific conditions prevailing. Apart from providing some new evidence in the important area of SMEs, this study also reveals interesting implications for managers and policy-makers while providing potential avenues for further investigation.
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