The objective of this paper is to evaluate the importance of selected characteristics of innovation networks in affecting the decision of food SMEs when joining such networks. The paper develops and tests a series of hypotheses through a choice experiment exercise ran on a sample of 231 firms in six EU countries. The results showed that SMEs prefer networks that are composed of manufacturers and supply chain members, where information is shared confidentially among network partners, and when the network provides support to help the firm build its own networks of partners for innovation. In addition, SMEs' choice of the network is also affected by the interaction between specific network attributes and two firm characteristics, i.e. the firm's collaborative experience and innovation objectives. Based on the results, we conclude that the success of inter-organizational networks depends on the fit between the network's design and the innovation and networking behaviour of the firms.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Business Administration