Appropriation strategies and open innovation in SMEs

Mark Freel, Paul Robson

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Drawing upon data from the 5th UK innovation survey, our goal is to shed light on how management choices on the nature of appropriation relate to management choices on the degree of openness within SMEs. To this end, our findings indicate a threshold effect of both informal and formal appropriation mechanisms on the likelihood of engaging in both coupled and inbound open innovation. That is, an emphasis on appropriation appears to be important in shifting firms from a closed to an open strategy. There is, however, little evidence that either approach to appropriation increases the extent of open innovation. In this, only informal IP protection mechanisms associate with an increasing extent of inbound open innovation. The implications of our findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-596
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • open innovation
  • appropriation strategies
  • SMEs

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