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Are ICTs Needed for Innovative Firms to Succeed? A Survey of French SMEs

Abstract : Firms' performance can be explained by many factors, including their innovativeness. Investment in ICTs is also seen as a source of competitiveness. Our research tests these two sources of performance and examines possible synergies with ICT supporting innovation. Based on the few existing academic studies raising the issue of synergies between ICTs and innovation, three hypotheses are formulated: the positive influences of (1) innovativeness and of (2) ICT resources on firm performance and (3) the influence of ICTs on innovation performance. The model is complemented with two control variables: market dynamism and firms' sectors. An empirical survey is conducted among 1.992 small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in France, complemented with an investigation of their financial performance. With a final sample of 1.088 firms, we test the direct effects of innovativeness and ICT resources (software diffusion and level of ICT skills) and the combined effect of innovativeness and dedicated ICTs. Dedicated ICTs variable captures how innovation depends on specific investments in ICTs or more intensive use of existing ICTs in the firm. This variable constitutes the major conceptual originality of our research. Our econometric results show that innovativeness has a positive effect on performance only if it is accompanied with dedicated ICTs. On the other side, econometric regression emphasizes an unexpected direct negative effect of innovativeness and of the level of ICT skills on SMEs' financial performance. We discuss these results taking place in the specific organizational context of SMEs: innovative SMEs might not always be the most financially efficient firms; the return on investment of ICTs has also to be questioned. However our results confirm that synergies between innovativeness and ICTs are a factor of SMEs' performance.
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Contributor : Nathalie Fontaine <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 5:00:36 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 6:30:13 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01206885, version 1


François Deltour, Virginie Lethiais. Are ICTs Needed for Innovative Firms to Succeed? A Survey of French SMEs. PROCEEDINGS OF THE 8TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON IS MANAGEMENT AND EVALUATION (ECIME 2014), 2014, Ghent, Belgium. pp.58-65. ⟨hal-01206885⟩



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