Collaboration with larger enteprises




The research in this paper reveals how Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) can contribute to industry competiveness through collaboration with larger enterprises. The research is based on a longitudinal qualitative case study starting in 2011 with 10 SME offshore wind farm suppliers and follow-up interviews in 2013. The research continued with a second approach in 2014 within operation and maintenance (O&M) through focus group interviews and subsequent individual interviews with 20 enterprises and a seminar in May 2015. The findings reveal opportunities and challenges for SMEs according to three different routes for cooperation and collaboration with larger enterprises: demand-driven cooperation, supplier-driven cooperation and partnerdriven collaboration. The SME contribution to innovation and competiveness is different within the three routes and ranges from providing specific knowledge, providing a ‘one-stop’ SME-supplier-unity and long term innovation collaboration on equal terms for competiveness, respectively. The findings reveal that it is beneficial, but difficult, for SMEs to move from the arm's length approach given by the tender legislation towards the other outlined routes. A contribution is hereby made to the insight and understanding of how SMEs can contribute to competiveness. This understanding allows SMEs, larger enterprises, academia and policy bodies to take enhanced informed actions.


Keywords: Innovation, SME, Collaboration, Larger enterprises, Offshore wind farms.


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