The article focuses on the topic of small and medium-sized enterprises and their need to rely on the networking (Muzzi & Albertini 2014, p. 1). There were two primary goals of the article. Firstly, to determine the competences and tasks required for a successful administration of the innovation community. This also included the investigation of the managerial roles that appear when competences and tasks are combined in a variety of ways. Secondly, to identify the influence that community members’ absorptive capacity has over the innovation generated by the community. The research process also led to other goals formed in the process and many questions that went beyond the original aim of the article. Despite the in-depth longitudinal study used in the process of researching, some of the gathered data did not lead to a particular conclusion.
The goals set by the authors resulted in three main claims. Competences and tasks have a direct influence over the effectiveness and efficiency of any community. This claim also led to the conclusion that managerial personnel should interact in different ways to help the community reach its goal. Finally, the absorptive capacity of the community members does not depend on prior experience and familiarity with networking. These conclusions were drawn using the methods of in-depth longitudinal case study analysis, qualitative positivistic approach with frequent interaction between data collection, analysis, and validation. Data sources used in the research were collected in the semi-structured interviews and public documents, newspapers articles, project documentation, and public speeches. To summarize, authors used different methods for both collecting data and its analysis, while relying on the semi-structured interview as their core method (Muzzi & Albertini 2014, p. 7).
Support of the Claims
The analysis of the community performance regarding its dependence on the managerial competences brought authors to a number of research questions. Furthermore, investigating this particular topic of the research concluded in the assumption that promotor is one of the most complicated to identify roles of the managerial process. Authors relied on the works by Fichter as an example of promotor’s description (Muzzi & Albertini 2014, p. 4). The work then proceeds to question if Fichter’s promotors exist in the community. If so, do their tasks correspond with the ones that authors include in their theoretical model described earlier in the article? The questions then shift to present authors’ view on the topic of the promotor’s role and its evolution in the Innovation Community. Further questions mostly focus on the stability of the community’s leadership and whether or not its stability or instability has any impact on the performance of the community. This concludes the group of questions related to the role of the promotor in the evolution of an individual business.
While answering the research questions mentioned above, Muzzi and Albertini (2014, p. 11) came to a conclusion that the roles offered by Fichter hold a significant value concerning the managerial dynamics of the innovation community. The reasoning behind that is that the roles described by Fichter are a result of the fieldwork. It is then stated that the community’s performance relies directly on the amount of the competencies a person possesses and their quality. To illustrate that, authors offered respondents to answer the questions that were formulated beforehand. If a person holds a needed amount of competencies, they can highly contribute the overall performance of the community, even if they are in charge of several roles. However, if wrong competencies are applied to an inappropriate role, performance of the community can be compromised.
Another important conclusion emerged after the analysis of the data gathered during the research. Authors remark that the importance of the power promotor as a figure influencing the performance of the community was more or less insignificant in the theoretical hindsight. Nevertheless, field observations allowed authors to assume that this role had a compelling magnitude to it in the community evolution. The examples given by the respondents of the interview clearly demonstrate the importance of the power promotor. The value of the power promotor as a role in the business process manifested itself in a clear definition of roles and creation of the right collaboration patterns between other promotors.
Further questions touched upon the topic of the role of prior experience and ACAP in community’s ability to gain new knowledge and apply it. Although the first group of research questions received a clear and well-reasoned answer, the latter group did not have as much data to work with, therefore remaining inconclusive. Still, Muzzi and Albertini (2014, p.12) managed to distinguish certain trends and came to a conclusion that prior experience is not a must when it comes to accumulating new knowledge within the innovation community. This conclusion leads authors to question further the nature of the arbitrating construct between different learning strategies that may be used by the community. This includes the question of whether or not one of the strategies must be focused on.
Scholarly Value and Suggestions
While offering a well-designed and thought through analysis of the first group of the questions, the article does not manage to further apply the results of the research’s first part to further investigation in any way. Moreover, the analysis described in the second part and the drawn conclusions are also incomplete. Despite having a vast amount of gathered data and literary material that support the case study, authors fall short of the conclusion for the latter part of the article. This may be because the authors used the same method of gathering data to answer the research questions related to prior experience. Another reason behind this shortcoming may be the fact that the specification of the topic made it hard for authors to adequately formulate the questions for the interview or analyze the gathered data. Regardless of the reason, the article does not answer all of the questions that are presented in the “Theoretical background and research questions” part.
Despite being somewhat unconcluded, the article has a high scholarly value for people participating in the business and economics studies as well as for the individuals involved in the business itself. It provides a lot of data on the networking processes that take place in the innovation community, while also focusing on the importance of the involved roles that ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of a firm. As stated by Muzzi and Albertini, the article offers a possibility of further research on the experience and its importance in the exploitation of the newly-gathered knowledge, as well as the competencies that ensure the successfulness of this process.
Muzzi, C, & Albertini, S 2014, ‘Communities and managerial competencies supporting SMEs innovation networking: a longitudinal case study’, R& D Management, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 1-16.