Perceived environmental uncertainty and innovation in small firms

M. Freel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Employing data, from a recent survey of Scottish and Northern English Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the current paper provides new evidence of the extent to which perceptions of environmental uncertainty (dynamism, complexity and hostility), along a number of dimensions, discriminate between small firms engaged in various levels of product innovation. Drawing, broadly, upon an extended version of the classic Miles and Snow schema, novel innovators appear to be marked by perceptions of uncertainty in market and technological environments, but by perceptions of a relatively certain or benign competitive environment. Moreover, the paper observes some dissimilarities between manufacturing and service firms. For instance, higher levels of innovation in manufacturing firms are associated with higher perceptions of supplier uncertainty, whilst, higher levels of innovation in service firms are associated with higher perceptions of human resource uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages15
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • environmental uncertainty
  • innovation
  • small firms
  • entrepreneurship
  • business innovation

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