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4.4 Findings and Results

Figure 4.3 displays the key findings in regard to the key competences for applying OI and in particular the OI approaches, which were found to be appropriate. The colors highlight the extent to which each key factor of the key competences is prevailing in small businesses. A green-colored frame means the factor is highly pronounced. An orange-colored frame means that the key factor is moderately pronounced, whereas a red-colored frame means that it is lowly pronounced. Below each key factor, the relevant key findings are listed to further explain why the key factor was found to be either highly, moderately, or lowly pronounced in the interviewed small businesses. Furthermore, below each OI approach in the second level, its key findings are summarized. The frame of the OI approach “collaborations with universities” is dashed, which implicates the difficulty to apply this approach and the issue of no clear statement as to whether this approach is appropriate for small businesses or not.

Looking at the findings (as displayed in Fig. 4.3), it can be said that absorptive capacity was seen as quite high, whereas collaborative capability was only moderately pronounced. Even though a few key factors (personnel and financial resources as well as the technological infrastructure and networking capabilities) were relatively lowly pronounced, these were still seen as sufficient to apply OI. Thus, it can be noted that most required competences (personnel and financial resources, market and technical expertise, R&D intensity, organizational structure) to apply OI are given. There were only the networking capabilities with no clear result. Regarding which OI approach is the most attractive and why, it was identified that customer involvement is the most promising OI approach, which is followed by R&D

Fig. 4.3 Overview of key findings

outsourcing. There was no agreement whether collaborations with universities could and/or should be applied or not. However, in general, collaborations with universities were seen as difficult to apply due to the missing contacts to universities and the internal lack of personnel resources with an appropriate educational and scientific background. The key findings presented in Fig. 4.3 provide the basis for the results. It also provides the basis for the conceptual framework illustrating the relationships between the key competences for OI and the appropriateness of the three OI approaches. Overall, the findings were largely consistent with the previous research and studies.

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