Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The impact of the entrepreneur, network, technological development, and environment to innovations as a key success factor SMEs - Development of a model, empirical analysis and international comparative study on the sample of companies in the tourism industry

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.04.03  Social sciences  Administrative and organisational sciences  Management 

Code Science Field
S000  Social sciences   

Code Science Field
5.06  Social Sciences  Political science 
Innovativeness, entrepreneurship, tourism, performance, competitiveness, structural equation modeling
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (1)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  26367  PhD Doris Gomezelj Omerzel  Administrative and organisational sciences  Head  2013 - 2015  243 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  7097  University of Primorska, Faculty of management  Koper  1810014002  10,100 
Many researchers have emphasized the importance of the entrepreneur’s characteristics, networking, technological development and environment for innovations, more recently especially the importance of innovation for growth, and the performance of businesses, industries, national economy, regions and the entire global economy has been studied. Studies that examined the factors and effects of innovation have been largely restricted to manufacturing. The research in the field of innovation in tourism is very scarce, with the few existing studies containing modest empirical analysis. The tourism sector faced the development of new technologies and the need for structural and organizational innovation. The principal research questions of the proposed research are as follows: (1) What is the impact of the entrepreneur’s characteristics, network, technological development and environment on innovations, (2) To what extent does innovation impact the business performance of tourism enterprises? and (3) What are the differences in all the dimensions of suggested model between Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy? The left side of the model is represented by the determinants of innovation, namely (1) entrepreneur’s characteristics, (2) networking, (3) technological development, and (4) environment. For entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, we can claim that they their ability to innovate is modest. More recent research stresses the importance of social capital, and networks for the success of innovation. In developing new ideas and innovations the technology was playing an important role. For the purposes of this study the factor of environment, will be separated into the external and internal environment. A central dimension of the proposed model will be innovativeness. In addition to the various correlations between the dimensions of the model we will analyse what are the dominant categories of innovation in tourism firms. The right side of the model will contain the effects of innovativeness. We will measure the performance of the company, which will, for the purposes of this study, be separated into (1) business performance and (2) the perceived success of the entrepreneur. Revenue growth, profit growth and employee growth are the common indicators of success. In addition, the business success in terms of perceived performance by the entrepreneurs (their subjective opinion regarding satisfaction with the company) is included in the proposed model. The main objectives of the research are (1) to develop and empirically examine an integrative model that links the impact of the entrepreneur’s characteristics, networking, technological development and environment to the  innovativeness as the key success factors of SMEs, (2) to verify the model empirically on a sample of small and medium enterprises in the tourism industry and (3) to perform an international comparative study of all aspects of the proposed model between Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy. No previous study, especially in the tourism industry, has succeed in proposing and even less in testing an integrative model that links the impact of the entrepreneur’s characteristics, networking, technological development and environment to innovation as the key factor of SMEs' performance. The proposed research will cover this gap in research. The international comparative study will present the contribution to the science and to the applicability if results. All dimensions of the proposed model and measurement issues will be conceptually developed. The questionnaires will be developed for the purpose of the quantitative research. The proposed research project will detect significant factors that promote innovations, thereby affecting the performance of tourism companies. Project results will include proposals for the management of tourism firms on how to increase the level of innovation in the tourism companies.
Significance for science
In the context of our research project the first survey of tourism businesses in the international area (in Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Italy and Austria), which looked at the relationship between the determinants of innovation and the link between innovation and performance of the enterprises was conducted. A systematic literature review was carried out at the beginning and on this basis the model was shaped. The left side of the model is representing the determinants of innovation, in our case the entrepreneurial orientation, technological development, networking and the environment. The dimension of innovation is set in the central part of the model. The right part of the model represents the consequences of innovation, in our case the performance of the company. For all the dimensions measuring instrument was developed, which was later finalized in the focus group meeting. The design of the measurement instrument and the choice of variables took place in the accordance with the presented theory. Variables were selected from previous studies taking into account the specificities of our research. 5 point Likert scale was employed to measure the variables, because these seemed to be the most suitable scale for our research. The questionnaire contains a series of demographic and control variables as well. Data were collected using the method of online survey. Deciding for postal mail or other means would constitute a major expense. Questionnaires were addressed to the management of tourism enterprises, anonymity was guaranteed. The sample of enterprises was formed using the method of random sampling from the total population of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises in five countries. In all five countries, it was necessary to prepare a list of email addresses to which we send a request for collaboration in the survey. The final base of firms included 2.800 e-mail addresses for Slovenia 1.700 for Croatia, 6.500 for Austria, 3.100 for Italy and 1.900 for Hungary. Due to very low responsiveness after the first sending of questionnaires we have sent reminders several times. The data obtained were initially treated with univariate statistical analysis. The discriminant and convergent validity were checked. We used exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. All the model constructs were first tested with exploratory factor analysis. Later the modeling techniques with structural equations (SEM - structural equation modeling) were employed, using EQS computer tools. We decided for SEM, because we believe that this is the most appropriate type of analysis for our study. The proposed research has the potential, as it broadened the scope of research innovation in tourism small and medium-sized enterprises. With the development and verification of new model we have contributed important insights on the effects of four factors on innovation and, consequently, the business results in terms of growth and the competitiveness of enterprises as well. We state, that using structural equation modeling our analysis were more complete than in previous studies, which have used other, more simple methods. It should be noted the development and validation of measurement constructs.
Significance for the country
With the discovery of the nature of the relationship between entrepreneurial characteristics, networking, technological development, environment, innovation and performance of the company this research contributes many results and implications, which will play an important role in the improvement of tourism industry competitiveness. One of the important results of our project is a designed and tested measurement instrument which can be used in further analysis and contribute to the improvement in measuring factors influencing innovation, innovation itself and its consequences in tourism businesses. The effects of this research are not limited to innovation, but also in all other areas that need to be developed aiming to positively influence innovation. The research project is important for the promotion of Slovenia abroad. This has been achieved through presentations and publications of research papers related to the project, presentations at international conferences and with published papers in international scientific journals. The contributions, which included several countries and represented comparative international studies, were especially interesting. Due to the international dimension the project is relevant also for acquiring knowledge from research in various foreign countries. Our research contributes to the general knowledge in the leading Slovenian tourism businesses. Dealing with the concept of innovation it has the potential for companies. Aiming to improve innovativeness and consecutively the business performance, companies/ managers should take care of improvements in the field of entrepreneurial orientation, networking, technological development and the environment. The results are presented in the form of freely available scientific monograph (on the website), some public hearings in the form of research seminars, presentations at conferences and papers in appreciated international journals. In this way, the results clearly indicate an expansion of new knowledge.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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