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How Small and Medium Sized Firms Walk the Path to Hybridity

Economic Geography Group, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
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Academic Editor: Antonino Galati
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2511; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052511
Received: 17 January 2021 / Revised: 18 February 2021 / Accepted: 22 February 2021 / Published: 26 February 2021
Customers increasingly prefer the provision of comprehensive solutions over buying goods and services separately. Whereas researchers have closely studied the servitization of large manufacturers, the situation of small and medium sized firms as well as of services firms has been neglected. In contrast to the one-sided view of servitization, we propose a comprehensive view of hybridity to capture the transformation of firms from pure to hybrid products and to focus on SMEs across a wide range of sectors. Based on a survey of 190 SMEs in a highly industrialized southern German region, we find hybrid firms to be more likely than pure firms—both manufacturing and service firms—to engage in a higher scale and scope of innovation activities, to use absorptive capabilities in the appropriation of external knowledge, and to collaborate with partners in the innovation process. We argue that collaboration offers a sustainable path towards hybridity for SMEs, and that territorial hybridity can be a viable path for regions towards sustainable development. View Full-Text
Keywords: hybridity; territorial servitization; regional development; SMEs; innovation; dynamic capabilities; absorptive capabilities; collaboration; southern Germany hybridity; territorial servitization; regional development; SMEs; innovation; dynamic capabilities; absorptive capabilities; collaboration; southern Germany
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MDPI and ACS Style

Punstein, A.M.; Glückler, J. How Small and Medium Sized Firms Walk the Path to Hybridity. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2511. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052511

AMA Style

Punstein AM, Glückler J. How Small and Medium Sized Firms Walk the Path to Hybridity. Sustainability. 2021; 13(5):2511. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052511

Chicago/Turabian Style

Punstein, Anna M., and Johannes Glückler. 2021. "How Small and Medium Sized Firms Walk the Path to Hybridity" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2511. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052511

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