Fostering Strategic Innovation Management for SMEs

Event start date
Event start time

Virta building, auditorium 109, address: Åkerlundinkatu 5


Doctoral defence of M.Sc. Zheng Huang

Fostering Strategic Innovation Management for SMEs - Multiple case studies in China

The field of science of the dissertation is Management and organisation.

The opponent is Associate Professor Jaana Woiceshyn (University of Calgary, Canada). Professor Arja Ropo acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is English.

Fostering Strategic Innovation Management for SMEs - Multiple case studies in China

This dissertation addresses innovation management studies concerning small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. Innovation is regarded as a crucial source of competitive advantage for SMEs. Despite the importance of innovation in SMEs, there are only few studies on SME innovation in developing countries so far. Many studies use single sites to analyse SME innovation. The purpose of this research is to obtain rich insight into the nature of innovation activities in Chinese SMEs, identifying several key factors that determine their innovativeness.

This dissertation is exploratory research that attempts to fill the blanks in academic studies of SME innovation management through both an extensive literature review and substantive knowledge development. By taking a multi-case qualitative approach, it examines the critical driving forces of innovation and analyses different innovation patterns.

The research uses the experience gained from a pilot study to develop a concrete interpretation of SME innovation behaviours. The within- and cross-case analyses are based on the innovation practices of SMEs, with a focus on different types and strategic behaviours. Based on a synthesis of cross-sectoral studies, the research findings indicate that Chinese SMEs involve a number of heterogeneous innovative activities and have their own distinctive features.

This research provides definitions for SME innovation, and facilitates the classification and integration of diverse insights from case studies. It contains a systematic view of SME innovation management. Through the integration of existing theories, a generic conceptual model is developed for SMEs to manage their innovation process and accelerate innovation activities. The model offers a holistic framework for enhancing strategic innovation successfully in a fast-changing environment. In addition, the model provides an explanation of the underlying mechanisms of innovation management in SMEs.

Thus, the dissertation investigates innovation in Chinese SMEs at firm level increasing current understanding of their innovative characteristics. The contribution of this study is in integrating innovation processes into a comprehensive conceptual framework for fostering strategic innovation in SMEs.

The dissertation is published in the publication series of Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2214, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2016. ISBN 978-952-03-0235-1, ISSN 1455-1616. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1714, Tampere University Press 2016. ISBN 978-952-03-0236-8, ISSN 1456-954X.

The dissertation can be ordered at: Juvenes e-bookstore or by e-mail:



Additional information

Zheng Huang,, tel. +358 45 106 4199