Entrepreneurial marketing : a historical perspective on development and practice

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I n t r odu ct ion a n d H ist or ica l Pe r spe ct ive

The m arket ing/ ent repreneurship int erface has developed a

subst ant ial body of lit erat ure over t he last decade. Market ing has m uch t o offer t he st udy of ent repreneurship ( Murray, 1981; Hills, 1987) and likew ise ent repreneurship can look t o m arket ing as t he key funct ion w it hin t he firm , w hich can encom pass innovat ion and creat ivit y. Om ura et al. ( 1993) perceive t he int erface bet w een t he t w o disciplines as having dist inct areas of bot h difference and overlap. The differences are bet ween t radit ional m arket ing w hich operat es in a consist ent environm ent , w here m arket condit ions are cont inuous and t he firm is sat isfying clearly perceived cust om er needs and pure ent repreneurship w hich operat es in an uncert ain environm ent , w here m arket condit ions are discont inuous and t he needs of t he m arket are as yet unclear. The overlap exist s in t w o areas; one where m arket condit ions are cont inuous and

ent repreneurship aids t he process of ident ifying as yet unperceived needs and secondly in a discont inuous m arket w here

ent repreneurship guides m arket ing st rat egy t o develop exist ing needs in a new environm ent . I n essence t hese researchers perceive t he I nt erface as focusing on ident ifying opport unit ies in a changing environm ent .

I n our opinion, m arket ing and ent repreneurship have t hree key areas of int erface: t hey are bot h change focused, opport unist ic in nat ure and innovat ive in t heir approach t o m anagem ent . Carson et al. ( 1995) perceive t he cent ral focus of t he int erface as being

change. Kurat ko ( 1995) in describing t oday's ent repreneur as: an innovat or or developer w ho recognises and seizes opport unit ies, convert s t hose opport unit ies int o w orkable/ m arket able ideas, adds value t hrough t im e, effort , m oney or skills, assum es t he risks of t he com pet it ive m arket place t o im plem ent t hese ideas and realises t he rew ards from t hese effort s. highlight s t he im port ance of change as one of t he key drivers in ent repreneurial act ivit y. Many of t he act ions undert aken by t he ent repreneur are key concept s in m arket ing t heory, w hich suggest t hat successful m arket ing is undert aken by firm s w ho ident ify new opport unit ies, apply innovat ive t echniques t o bring t he product / service t o t he

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I f w e accept t hree key areas of t he m arket ing/ ent repreneurship int erface as being change focused, opport unist ic in nat ure and innovat ive in m anagem ent approach, t his has im plicat ions for educat ion. Specifically, t his suggest s t hat curricula are adequat ely developed t o encourage st udent s t o learn how t o deal w it h change, ident ify viable opport unit ies and develop t heir innovat ive skills. The business educat ion lit erat ure suggest s how ever t hat educat ional inst it ut ions are st ill som e way from appreciat ing t he ent repreneurial role of m arket ing and incorporat ing t his w it hin t he curriculum

( O'Brien and Hart , 1999) .

The hist orical developm ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing has evolved over t wo decades. Early work in t he area focused on t he issues associat ed w it h t he overlap bet w een convent ional m arket ing t heories and t hose advocat ed by ent repreneurship. Much of t his research w as conduct ed in t he USA and focused, as out lined

previously, on t w o dist inct disciplines m erging in areas of com m on int erest . ( Hills, 1987; Om ura et al., 1993) . As t his area of research has expanded researchers have ext ended t heir w ork int o not only t he t heoret ical developm ent but t he pract ical applicat ions and im plicat ions for ent repreneurial m arket ing in t he w orkplace and in t he educat ional environm ent ( Carson and Crom ie, 1989; O'Brien and Clark, 1997; Shaw , 1998) . The early 1990s saw t he

est ablishm ent of bot h US and European groups of academ ics

w orking in t he areas of t he int erface bet w een ent repreneurship and m arket ing. This int erface bet w een t he t w o disciplines has now developed int o a key focus of research w it hin m ainst ream

m arket ing research. These developm ent s have seen t he range and nat ure of research st udies expand, w it h areas such as creat ivit y, net w orking, st rat egy and educat ional issues now included. Research st udies in t he early t w ent y- first cent ury are focusing on t he key issues associat ed w it h applying ent repreneurial m arket ing t ec niques in indust ry, w hilst also invest igat ing educat ional pract ices w hich w ill enable st udent s t o be skilled in an ent repreneurial m arket ing firm ( Collinson and Quinn, 1999; Robson, 1996) .

An ent repreneurial focus t o m arket ing

Ent repreneurial cult ure

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grow t h it can be difficult t o sust ain an ent repreneurial focus in a m ult ilayered m anagem ent st ruct ure.

Given t he difficult y in ident ifying t ruly ent repreneurial large

organisat ions, t he m aj orit y of t he research is in t he dom ain of t he sm all firm sect or, but increasingly larger organisat ions are

developing t his approach. Sm all firm s are how ever int risically different in m ake- up from t he larger count erpart s. These basic differences affect t he planning process, t he m an gem ent st ruct ure and t he w ay in w hich m arket ing is im plem ent ed ( Carson et al., 1995; Carson and Crom ie, 1989; Liu, 1995; St okes, 1995) . I n addit ion t o t he organisat ional st ruct ure, t he ent repreneurial

personalit y hl s a direct effect on t he w ay in w hich m a agem ent is undert aken ( Chell, 1986) . Ent repreneurs, by t heir nat ure, w ill focus on var ous opport unit ies at once and are not easily convinced by t he sequent ial, st ruct ured approach t o m anagem ent , w hich is t he focus of m ost m anagem ent / m arket ing t ext s ( O'Brien and Hart , 1999) .

Following on from t he early focus on t he ent repreneur, researchers at t he int erface have at t em pt ed t o ascert ain changes in

ent repreneurial act ivit y over a firm 's life cycle, by m easuring t he ent repreneurial effort in m anagem ent act ivit ies coupled w it h t he ent repreneurial scenario faced by t he firm . This enables t he

ent repreneurial personalit y t o be seen in t he cont ext of t he firm and relevant indust ry. The t erm " ent repreneurial effort " has em erged. The t erm " ent repreneurial effort " encom passes a num ber of

charact erist ics, nam ely energy, zeal, com m it m ent , det erm inat ion, persist ence, opport unit y and focus, w hich are exhibit ed by t he ent repreneur or m anagem ent t eam . The ent repreneurial scenario is charact erised by t he perceived level of risk facing t he firm , t he available resources and t he individual's need for skills, know ledge, experience and personal independence. I n com bining t hese t wo set s of crit eria t he ret urn on ent repreneurial effort can be ascert ained. This reflect s t he degree t o w hich t he vent ure develops and grow s over t im e as a consequence of t he ent repreneur's effort s and changing circum st ances ( Carson et al., 1995) .

One of t he key problem s facing sm all firm s is t hat as t hey grow it can be increasingly difficult t o m aint ain t he sam e level of

ent repreneurial effort as w as expended in t he init ial st ages of t he firm 's life. I n addit ion t o t his barrier, it is a nat ural t endency t o veer t ow ards act ivit ies t hat reduce levels of risk and consolidat e t he firm 's posit ion.

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resources and skills requirem ent s is a key area of current research in ent repreneurial m arket ing act ivit y ( Collinson and Quinn, 1999) .

How ever, as m ent ioned previously ent repreneurial m arket ing is not solely t he dom ain of t he sm all firm . Many large organisat ions can be ent repreneurial in t heir approach t o m arket ing act ivit ies. Take for exam ple Richard Branson, w hose organisat ion, Virgin, spans m any indust ries and is const ant ly ent repreneurial in it s out look t o

ident ifying new m arket opport unit ies and developing t hese. I t m ust be st at ed, however, t hat in m any cases it needs a very

ent repreneurial leader w it hin t he organisat ion t o m aint ain t his m anagerial focus and cult ure.

Ent repreneurial m anagem ent

As it is only recent ly t hat t he m arket ing/ ent repreneurship int erface has been recognised, t here is a scarcit y of lit erat ure w it hin

m ainst ream m arket ing t ext s w hich considers how ent repreneurial m arket ing can be m anaged. This is despit e t he realit y t hat for m any sm all and ent repreneurial organisat ions, ent repreneurial m arket ing is som et hing t hat has long been pract ised and for m any is

som et hing w hich is " second nat ure" . This is not t o suggest t hat t he m anagem ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing has not been considered. From t he grow ing body of lit erat ure on t he m arket ing/

ent repreneurship int erface, a num ber of t hem es relat ing t o t he m anagem ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing can be ident ified. The first of t hese is t hat t he process of m anaging ent repreneurial

m arket ing differs from t he process of m anaging regular approaches t o m arket ing. One key reason for t his is t hat w here ent repreneurial m arket ing is pract ised, it com m only t akes place w it hin a fluct uat ing and changing environm ent w hich rest rict s opport unit ies for

engaging in t he m arket ing planning process, t ypically adopt ed w hen planning regular m arket ing act ivit ies ( Carson et al, 1995) . Wit hin such environm ent s, if t im e is t aken t o engage in a rigorous planning process, by t he end of t hat process it is likely t hat m arket

condit ions w ill have changed sufficient ly t o render any decision result ing from t his process as no longer relevant . I nst ead, t he m anagem ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing involves a short er decision- m aking process, w hich is oft en preceded by lit t le form al planning.

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responsible for t he m arket ing funct ion. This is because for

ent repreneurial organisat ions, a closeness w it h t he m arket place, oft en m ade possible by t heir sm aller size, leads t o a keen sense of cust om er needs, want s and dem ands w it hout t he need for

invest m ent in expensive and t im e consum ing m arket research or designat ed m arket ing depart m ent s ( St okes, 1995) .

Relat ed t o t his a t hird t hem e can be ident ified. Wit hin

ent repreneurial organisat ions, an inform al rat her t han form al approach is oft en adopt ed t o t he m anagem ent of m arket ing. This can be explained by com m it m ent at an organisat ional level t o underst anding, ant icipat ing and responding t o t he needs of a const ant ly changing m arket place. Wit hin such an organisat ional cont ext t he need t o m anage t he process of m arket ing becom es less necessary as m arket ing becom es an act ivit y ow ned and m anaged by t he whole organisat ion ( St okes, 1995) .

Ent repreneurial com pet encies

The differences bet w een ent repreneurial and regular m arket ing suggest a num ber of im plicat ions for t he m anagerial com pet encies required. The m anagem ent of regular m arket ing can be

charact erised by a careful planning process w hich is inform ed by m arket research t o guide t he select ion of t arget m arket s and t he com posit ion of a m arket ing m ix w it h w hich t o posit ion product s com pet it ively w it hin t he m arket place. Consequent ly, t he

com pet encies w hich it requires include planning, rigour and fam iliarit y w it h st at ist ics and figures. I n cont rast , as has been described above, t he m anagem ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing is charact erised by int uit ion, inform alit y and speed of decision m aking, all of w hich require different com pet encies. This area of

ent repreneurial com pet encies has received increasing at t ent ion from researchers w orking at t he int erface, since t he lat e 1980s and has developed concept s in m arket ing educat ion w hich are m ore suit ed t o t he ent repreneurial m arket ing scenario ( Carson and Coviello, 1997; Cunningham , 1997) .

Managem ent com pet ency has been defined by Boyat zis ( 1992) as:

... an underlying charact erist ic of a person, w hich result s in effect ive and/ or superior perform ance in a j ob.

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m anagem ent and being opport unist ic in t heir behaviour in t he m arket place. Drucker ( 1973) suggest s t hat ent repreneurial

innovat ion w ill be as im port ant t o m anagem ent in t he fut ure as t he m anagerial funct ion it self is t oday. He suggest s com pet encies also include lat eral t hinking and forw ard t hinking, w hich m eans building up som et hing new as opposed t o analysing som et hing old. The lit erat ure covering ent repreneurial charact erist ics is w ide and varied and som e w ould suggest t hat t he set t ing and cult ure in w hich an ent repreneur applies t hese com pet encies is j ust as im port ant as t heir personal charact erist ics.

Carson et al. ( 1995) ident ify four key com pet encies associat ed w it h ent repreneurial m arket ing m anagem ent :

1 experience of bot h t he indust ry and t he j ob;

2 know ledge of t he product aid m arket ;

3 com m unicat ion skills in being able t o direct t he organisat ion; anc

4 sound j udgem ent in being ble t o ident ify good m arket opport unit ies or key appoint m ent s in personnel,

support ed by high levels of percept ion and int uit ion.

As can be appreciat ed from t he above, t he t ypes of com pet encies required are int angible and not easily acquired over a short period of t im e. The challenge facing firm s at t em pt ing t o adopt an

ent repreneurial approach t o t heir m arket place is how t o harness and develop t hese com pet encies and ensure t hat t hey are m anaged a support ive environm ent . Tradit ionally, t raining for m anagem ent has focused on t he t angible, m ore readily m easurable com pet encies of know ledge and skills such as j udgem ent and int uit ion are

perceived as secondary. Wit h t he ent repreneurial m arket er, a w ider range of skills and com pet encies requires t o be developed. This also has im plicat ions, not only in m anagerial t raining in indust ry, but also w it hin higher educat ion, here again t he focus has been

t radit ionally on acquiring t he know ledge base but w hat have been loosely t erm ed as t ransferable skills, have been given less

im port ance in he curriculum developm ent . This scenario is gradually changing but aw areness of t he im port ance of t his wide range of com pet encies is st ill low .

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caught up in t he day t o day m anagem ent of t he firm , w hich is now a m ore com plex organisat ion. Given t he key com pet encies

discussed earlier. firm s m ust ensure t he t hat t he cult ure w it hin t he organisat ion rem ains ent repreneurial in it s focus, t hrough enabling such skills as j udgem ent and int uit ion t o play t heir part in

m anagem ent . Being creat ive or innovat ive should not be som et hing only expect ed of t hose involved in new product developm ent , but should be com pet encies deem ed essent ial t hroughout t he firm . Research in ent repreneurial m arket ing has m ore recent ly focused on ascert aining t he im pact of t raining schem es t o aid sm all firm s t o m anage t heir grow t h in an ent repreneurial set t ing ( Collinson and Quinn, 1999) .

There have been a num ber of governm ent sponsored init iat ives in t he UK direct ed t ow ards t he sm all firm sect or, w hich have

concent rat ed on developing bot h ow ner m anager learning and ext ending t he skills base w it hin t he firm . Wit hin t hese schem es, a num ber have concent rat ed on developing sm all firm links w it h t he universit y sect or and encouraging SMEs t o em ploy a larger num ber of bot h st udent s and graduat es. These include t he Teaching

Com pany Schem e, Graduat e int o Business and Profit Through

Know ledge, t o nam e but a few . Em pirical resear ch invest igat ing t he benefit s of such schem es on com pet ency developm ent have

highlight ed t hat graduat es can play an im port ant role in t he sm all firm . Typically, t hey provide a useful source of ideas, an obj ect ive view point t o t he st rat egy being adopt ed and can oft en suggest alt ernat ive approaches t o problem solving ( O'Brien and Clark, 1997) . I n addit ion t o t hese benefit s, research has also show n t hat t hose w it hin t he firm ext end t heir com pet ency base, t hrough int roduct ion t o ot her m anagem ent skills and closer links w it h academ ic est ablishm ent s ( Collinson and Quinn, 1999; Robson, 1996) .

Ent repreneurial m arket ing is charact erised by a responsiveness t o t he m arket place and a seem ingly int uit ive abilit y t o ant icipat e

changes in cust om er dem ands. Because of t his, t he abilit y t o collect t hat m arket inform at ion w hich is pert inent t o t he cont inued

achievem ent of organisat ional goals on a regular, alm ost daily basis is im perat ive and is an im port ant com pet ency for t he

ent repreneurial m arket ing m anager. Research show s t hat w it h few er financial resources and rest rict ions on t he t im e available t o engage in m arket research, ent repreneurial organisat ions m ake excellent use of t he net w orks of relat ionships in w hich t hey are em bedded. Specifically, relat ionships w it h buyers, suppliers and ot hers along t he supply chain and in t he im m ediat e m icro

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const ant ly changing environm ent is relevant t o t heir success and m ust be regularly collect ed and underst ood.

Wit hin t his cont ext , net w orking com pet encies are essent ial t o t he abilit y t o develop and m anage a diverse net w ork of relat ionships. The w hole area of net w orks and m anaging t hese net w orks is now cent ral t o t he lit erat ure in ent repreneurial m arket ing, in bot h it s t heoret ical developm ent and pract ice.

Net w orking: an ent repreneurial m arket ing t ool

The net w orks w it hin w hich ent repreneurs and t heir organisat ions are em bedded have been found t o provide accurat e inform at ion and advice, w hich can be used t o t ake m arket decisions and evaluat e t he validit y of t hese decisions. For exam ple, ent repreneurial organisat ions have been found t o access inform at ion about

cust om ers from t heir net w orks and use t his inform at ion t o im prove t heir pricing st ruct ures and t ailor t heir com m unicat ions ( O'Donnell and Cum m ins 1999; Shaw , 1998) . One reason explaining why t hese net w orks cont ribut e t o t he m arket ing effect iveness of

ent repreneurial organisat ions is t hat w hen lacking m arket

inform at ion and know ledge, such organisat ions oft en m ake use of t heir personal cont act net works t o provide t hem w it h t he m arket inform at ion and advice t hey need if t hey are t o develop t heir business furt her and progress t hroughout t he ent repreneurship process ( Carson et al., 1995) . A second reason relat es t o t he

rest rict ed t im e and resources w hich ent repreneurs and sm aller sized ent repreneurial organisat ions have available t o t hem . As

ent repreneurs rarely have t he t im e, resources or t he inclinat ion t o purchase m arket research report s or seek t he advice of business advisers, t hey oft en glean m arket inform at ion from t heir personal cont act net w orks, t ypically w hen undert aking ot her act ivit ies, such as liaising w it h suppliers. Sim ply put , for m any ent repreneurs t he conversat ions t hey have wit h people t hey int eract w it h on a regular basis w hile running t heir business, const it ut e t he m arket scanning w hich t hey undert ake and use t o keep t hem inform ed and up t o dat e about condit ions and changes in t heir m arket . Relat ed t o t his, an im port ant finding of such research is t hat t he inform at ion and advice provided t o ent repreneurs from t heir net works is

t rust w ort hy, reliable and can be act ed upon ( Hill and McGow an, 1997) . An im port ant reason for t his is t hat individuals providing t his inform at ion and advice have been found t o share m ore t han an inst rum ent al relat ionship w it h t he ent repreneur and/ or t heir

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and advice, but also w it h inform at ion and advice w hich t hey are able t o t rust and t herefore do not have t o spend t im e validat ing.

While it has been est ablished t hat m any ent repreneurial

organisat ions do not conform t o t he m arket ing st rat egies pract ised by t heir oft en larger, m ore inflexible com pet it ors, research has found net w orks t o cont ribut e t o t he product , pricing and

prom ot ional decisions of ent repreneurs. By accessing m arket

inform at ion from t heir personal cont act net w orks, ent repreneurs are able t o keep inform ed about and ident ify m arket opport unit ies and respond t o t hese in innovat ive w ays, oft en involving t he

developm ent and int roduct ion of new product s. Relat ed t o t his, once dem and for a product or service is est ablished by an ent repreneur, research has revealed t hat by fost ering inform al relat ionships w it h cust om ers, product s can be cont inually review ed and m odified t o ensure t hat t hey consist ent ly m eet t he needs, w ant s and dem ands of t heir cust om ers. Given t he im port ance of net w orks and

successful net w orking t o ent repreneurial m arket ing, t his area is likely t o be t he focus of m any fut ure research st udies.

Conclusions

This art icle has aim ed t o provide t he reader w it h an insight int o t he hist orical root s and developm ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing and w here current t heory lies. I n essence, t his area of research has em erged from t w o key m anagem ent disciplines, nam ely

ent repreneurship and m arket ing. Early research focused on developing t his overlap and invest igat ing how bot h areas could benefit from each ot her. Developm ent of ent repreneurial m arket ing has expanded t o include areas such as creat ivit y, net w orking,

st rat egy, im pact on educat ion and grow t h issues. Current research uses prim arily qualit at ive approaches t o underst and how

ent repreneurial m arket ing t echniques are being adapt ed in t he w orkplace.

I f ent repreneurial m arket ing is t o be successfully adopt ed by a firm , it requires t hat t he organisat ional cult ure is such t hat it support s a different st yle of m anagem ent from t he very st ruct ured and rural approaches oft en advocat ed in t he m anagem ent lit erat ure. I t also requires addit ional com pet encies t o t hose perceived as key in

successful m anagem ent . As Drucker, as far back as 1973, indicat ed a different perspect ive requires t o be adopt ed w it h regards t o skills such as j udgem ent , creat ivit y and innovat iveness. This present s a challenge t o bot h educat ion and indust ry t raining inst it ut ions. The key skill of net w orking is crucial t o any firm adopt ing an

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ent repreneurs ut ilise t heir net w orking skills t o grow successful com panies. The fut ure of ent repreneurial m arket ing research is current ly developing m any of t he areas discussed in t his paper and also focusing on t he area of e- m arket ing and how t his is best

m anaged in t he ent repreneurial firm .

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I nnovat ion Managem ent , Special I ssue, pp. 201- 22.

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