Keywords: sustainable competitiveness, openness, user integration, corporate functions, management processes, innovatory activities, firm competitiveness, environmental factors, social factors, multivariate regression techniques, fringe stakeholders, positive associations, negativity, innovation, sustainable development, sustainability
The links of sustainable competitiveness and innovation with openness and user integration: an empirical analysis
This paper analyses empirically based on exploratory case studies as well as a quantitative survey the role of integrating users and other external parties with different corporate functions and management processes for innovatory activities and firm competitiveness, especially as concerns environmental and social aspects. Using multivariate regression techniques, the paper finds that openness does not associate with innovation, user integration and especially the involvement of fringe stakeholders does. Furthermore, as concerns competitiveness, user integration is generally significantly and positively associated, whereas openness is negatively associated, yet not always significantly. Jointly, the qualitative content analysis of exploratory case studies and the quantitative analyses confirm the important role of cooperation and user innovation for sustainability-related innovation and competitiveness, but they also point to a possible challenge for firms to reconcile innovation and competitiveness.