Inderscience Publishers

The effect of intellectual capital on product innovativeness in SMEs

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This paper examines the relationship between intellectual capital and different product innovation strategies based on a longitudinal study of Austrian firms assuming that intellectual capital is an important complementary asset for innovation activities. The data was collected in 1995 and 2003 using the same questionnaire among a firm sample of 91 small and medium-sized firms in manufacturing industries. The study delivers evidence for a positive association between human capital and product innovativeness. Moreover, firms, which have strength in both human and structural capital have a higher likelihood to be highly innovative. In addition, the research reveals that intellectual capital discriminates more strongly between highly and less innovative firms while the traditional measure of R&D expenditure has a stronger explanatory power in differentiating between not innovative and less innovative firms.

Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, innovation strategies, innovativeness, intellectual capital, human capital, structural capital, product development, longitudinal study

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