Key Results

From: Vladimirov, Z., Ganeva-Simeonova, R., Ganev, K. (2013). Significance of globalization-specific factors for SME competitiveness: a conceptual model and an empirical test. Business Systems Review, 2 (3), 1-25.


The empirical data indicate that the basic factors have a dominant role in determining business performance in a period of economic crisis. For the period of post-crisis recovery, only slight differences between the basic and the globalization-specific factors are observed in the values of specificities, sensitivities and share of correct predictions. Econometric results show that both factors seem to be equally important and none of them has a dominant role for the business performance.

From: Vladimirov, Z. (2014). Conceptual Framework of SMEs Competitiveness Factors in the Context of Globalization – paper presented at the International Council of Small Business (ICSB) World Entrepreneurship Conference, Dublin, June, 11-14, 2014


The proposed conceptual framework attempts to combine the strong points of Porter’s view, RBV, and configuration approach. Each model necessarily is a simplification of reality. For instance external factors are interrelated, which is implicitly assumed, but not reflected in the model. Changes in government policies may affect all the rest of these factors, as is the same with changes in demand conditions, factors conditions, etc. Internal factors also interact among themselves. Firms with different basic capabilities may use similar tangible and intangible assets differently, and similar assets may impose different constrains on capabilities. Upgraded discrete factors and/or new combinations also are in constant interaction, as the EU report found a strong link between SMEs internationalisation and different forms of innovation (product and process innovation, and use of e-commerce) (EC, 2010, pp. 7, 8, 9). The place of strategy in the model suggests that it mediates the impact of internal resources and external conditions on firm’s basic factors and their new combinations.

The conceptual model has been subsequently improved in line with the results of the next publication, and precisely with the idea that the innovation-related factors are specific manifestations of the main types of innovations (product/service; technology process; non-technology process or organisational; and marketing).

From: Vladimirov, Z. (2015). Main types of SME Innovations and their Interdependence. In K. Todorov and M. Dimitrov (Eds.) Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference “Entrepreneurial/Managerial Innovative Strategies and Behaviour in Global Multicultural Environment”, 9-12/09/2014, Nessebar, Bulgaria, pp. 15-36

Some researchers considered that product/service and process innovations may be united under the term technical innovation, while others viewed product, service, and production processes innovations as parts of firm technological innovation. This ordering complicates additionally the distinction among different process innovations. Quite justifiably Reichstein and Salter (2006, p. 678) concluded that the tension between the “technological” and the “organizational” changes remains unresolved in the study of process innovation. The classification of different types of innovations according two main dimensions (process and non-process; and technological and non-technological) is given in the next figure (Table 1).


As it is evident from the Table 1, technological innovations cover product/service and technological process changes, while non-technological ones refer to organisational and marketing innovations. In difference to technological and non-technological process innovations, product and service innovations are non-process ones.

Based on the literature review a conceptual model of the interdependence of four types of innovations (organisational, product, process, and marketing) and their combined effects on firm performance is proposed (Fig.2). The model contains five blocks, of which four blocks for the four types of innovations (organisational, product, process, and marketing), and the fifth block for the overall firm’s performance.


The conceptual model will be tested through a path model using Amos of SPSS 20. The model contains nine hypothesis, which are derived from the literature review, particularly from the sections on the interaction of innovations types and their impact on firm performance. Based on that we assume that organisational innovations will have a direct and positive effects on other types of innovations, and will indirectly contribute positively to the firm performance. Other three types of innovations are supposed to mediate fully the influence of organisational innovations on performance. We expect that technological process and marketing innovations will impact directly and positively product innovations, as well as directly and positively firm performance. Technological process innovations will have also a direct and positive influence on marketing innovations. Product innovations are supposed to mediate partially the effects of technology process and marketing innovations on performance, and to exercise a direct and positive influence on performance. These hypotheses are in line with few studies, investigating the interdependence of four type of innovations

From: Vladimirov, Z. (2014). Configurations of the manufacturing SMEs competitiveness factors under globalization. The Journal of Small Business Innovation, 17(4), 19-48


The figure above visualizes well the advantages and disadvantages of clusters. For instance the first cluster excel well on the Access to information and to some degree on Product innovations and Marketing strategy, while the second cluster dominate on the E-integration. The third cluster, however, which is the best performing and with the higher value on competitiveness, exhibit quite evenly development of almost all competitiveness factors with high values on Product innovations, Marketing strategies, Staff training, own Trademarks and patents.

From: Vladimirov, Z. 2015. Interdependence of types of innovations and their effects on performance in the manufacturing SME, paper presented at the 60th Annual ICSB World Conference, June 6-9, 2015 – Dubai.


The main findings reveal a relatively low level of innovativeness in respect to organisational, process, and marketing innovations. More than 50 percent of the firms have not done organisational improvements, and in total more than 70 percent have low values on the index of organisational innovations.  The figures for technology process and marketing innovations are similar. The level of product innovativeness is a little bit higher, but it is not related strongly with the R&D activities, which suggests that these are mainly small and incremental product innovations. These findings suggest that the manufacturing SMEs belong to the category of “modest innovators”, which is similar to the country place in the Innovation Union Scoreboard (EC, 2014).

All of the hypotheses have been confirmed except for two hypotheses. The organisational type of innovations seems to be most important as it influence directly and positively other types of innovations, and indirectly and positively the firm performance. Both process and marketing innovations play a mediating role between organisational and product ones. Product type of innovations exercises a direct positive impact of firm performance, and it mediates the influence of marketing innovations on performance. The technology process innovations also impact positively both product innovation and performance, but these impacts are not statistically significant. The data show that a small share of performance variance is explained by all types of innovations (only 11 percent). It means that other, more traditional factors, are of greater importance for the manufacturing SMEs performance.

From: Vladimirov, Z. 2015.  SME Innovation and Performance: the Mediating Role or Product Innovation, paper presented in the REDETE 2015 International Scientific Conference Economic Development and Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies: Assessment of the last 25 years, going beyond the “transition”, Graz, Austria, October 22-24, 2015


The results show that all hypotheses about direct effects of process innovations and other factors on both product innovation and performance are supported, except for direct impact of technological innovations on product innovations (H3), and significant, but negative influence of the firm size on product innovations (H9).


Table 4 shows that all of the indirect effects of process innovations and other factors on performance (through product innovations) are statistically significant. The product innovations are the only innovation factor which impacts directly and positively performance. Process innovations and external factors contribute positively and significantly, but indirectly (through product innovations) to the SME performance. In other words, the indirect positive effects of access to information, access to finance, technological innovations, commitment to learning, marketing innovations, and R&D on performance are significant at 0.5 level.

From: Vladimirov. Z. 2015. Factors for the E-business Adoption by Small Tourism Firms and the Role of Informal Economic Practices. European Journal of Tourism Research 10, pp. 5-34.


The exploratory factor analysis provided five factors as antecedents to the e-business adoption. These factors reflected perceptions of environmental pressure, organisational readiness, informal economy in the sector, and managers’ attitudes (positive and negative) towards the e-business adoption. The positive attitudes were related to the expected benefits, while the negative ones were tied to the expected disadvantages and barriers. The e-business adoption was assessed by four aspects – website functionalities in terms of on-line reservation and payment systems, and back end integration systems. The effects of these factors were revealed by a multiple regression model, which included also manager experience and firm size as control variables.

The findings suggested that environmental pressure, organisational readiness, and positive expectations were more likely to drive the e-business adoption. The manager experience and the firm size influenced positively this adoption too. On the contrary, negative expectations and particularly the perceptions of the spread up of informal economy were more likely to work against the e-business adoption by small tourism firms.

From: Yordanova, D., Vladimirov, Z., and Ganeva-Simeonova, R. (2015). Management Practices in Bulgarian Family and Non-family SMEs: Exploring “Real” Differences. In L.-P. Dana and V. Ramadani (Eds.) Family Businesses in Transition Economies Management, Succession and Internationalization, pp. 113-138


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