Stakeholder management in SME open innovation: interdependences and strategic actions

Ekaterina Albats, Allen Alexander, Maral Mahdad, Kristel Miller, Ger Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)
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This research explores how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) manage external stakeholders during open innovation (OI) processes. To date, extensive literature has explored OI within large organisations, however, there is limited understanding of how SMEs can strategically manage stakeholders during different stages of OI projects. Using a multi-grounded theory approach, 11 cases of SME OI projects were analysed across four regions within Europe. The findings reveal a wide range of primary and secondary stakeholders with varying levels of power and dependency were leveraged across the different stages of the OI projects. A model is presented which advances knowledge on how to map, analyse and manage stakeholders strategically in a SME-OI context. Our research helps advance theory on SME-OI stakeholder management processes and reveals appropriate stakeholder management strategies, which will assist SME managers in alleviating the SME-OI paradox
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Oct 2020


  • Stakeholder theory
  • Open innovation
  • SME
  • Interdependences
  • Strategic actions
  • stakeholder management
  • Stakeholder management


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