Original Research

Non-technical innovation and entrepreneurship in project-based small service firms

Chen Wang, Yee Lin Lee, Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap, Lincoln C. Wood, Hamzah Abdul-Rahman
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 23, No 1 | a3498 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v23i1.3498 | © 2020 Chen Wang, Yee Lin Lee, Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap, Lincoln C. Wood, Hamzah Abdul-Rahman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 December 2019 | Published: 27 August 2020

About the author(s)

Chen Wang, Department of Construction Management, Huaqiao University, Xiamen, China
Yee Lin Lee, Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap, Department of Surveying, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Lincoln C. Wood, Department of Business and Management, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Hamzah Abdul-Rahman, Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


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Abstract

Background: Because of doubts about the sufficiency of convention indicators to continually gauge innovative outcomes at the firm level, a burgeoning stream of scholars has shifted their empirical efforts to the theoretical development of non-technical innovations.

Aim: This study investigates the contribution of non-technical, innovative, entrepreneurial and marketing endeavours to the development of superior entrepreneurship through two types of firm capabilities.

Setting: Over several stages, a structured questionnaire form was formulated. Firstly, an extensive review of previous similar research was performed to identify the adoptable scale items. After adjusting the scales based on the feedback from the pre-testers, the final questionnaire comprised 55 items measured on a five-point Likert-type scale.

Methods: A total of 155 valid questionnaires, with the inclusion of late-responses, were obtained and this represented a response rate of 22%. Particularly, a conceptual model connecting market orientation, organisational learning, non-technical innovation and entrepreneurship was tested using partial least square path modelling.

Results: In considering the criticality of innovation as the fulcrum of service-based delivery, our model advances the existing empirical approaches with a more intangible dimensionality of innovative efforts. Overall, the model distinguishes that small service firms engaging in dual modes of non-technical innovation strategically nurture intangible capabilities, which in turn provides them with enduring performance outcomes in outperforming competitors.

Conclusion: The findings could assist small firms in accomplishing new value creation via non-technical innovations.


Keywords

entrepreneurship; non-technological innovation; organisational learning; innovation; small-sized firms; SME.

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