The long-term impact of engaged scholarship: how do SMEs capitalise on their engagement with academics to explore new opportunities?

Rosli, A., de Silva, M., Rossi, F. and Yip, N. 2018. The long-term impact of engaged scholarship: how do SMEs capitalise on their engagement with academics to explore new opportunities? International Small Business Journal. 36 (4), pp. 400-428. doi:10.1177/0266242617749885

TitleThe long-term impact of engaged scholarship: how do SMEs capitalise on their engagement with academics to explore new opportunities?
AuthorsRosli, A., de Silva, M., Rossi, F. and Yip, N.
Abstract

We investigate whether—and how—small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are able to capitalise on their engagement with academics in order to explore new opportunities beyond the achievement of the immediate objectives of their collaboration. Using empirical evidence drawn from academic-SME collaborations supported by the Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme in the UK, we find that, for many SMEs, engagement with academics has led to new business opportunities, including new market creation, new project engagement, new venture creation, and new strategic network development. The exploration of new business opportunities is facilitated when three overarching factors are present: i) a capable boundary spanner, who creates bridges within the SME and between the SME and the university, and gains an in-depth knowledge of the collaboration’s content; ii) a committed SME leadership willing to allocate resources and permissions to the collaboration, and encouraging an open flow of communication; iii) a strong relationship, characterised by trust and cognitive proximity, between the collaboration’s partners, who engage in open discussions and acknowledge and respect their different roles and responsibilities. These findings offer suggestions to SMEs, universities and policy makers in relation to improving the generation of long-term impacts on SMEs through engaged scholarship.

KeywordsEngaged scholarship; academic engagement; small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); Knowledge Transfer Partnerships; boundary spanner; new business opportunities
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Journal citation36 (4), pp. 400-428
ISSN0266-2426
Year2018
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscriptPost Review Accepted Version ISBJ.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/0266242617749885
Publication dates
Published31 May 2018

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