Exploring innovation success recipes in low-technology firms using fuzzy-set QCA

F.M. Reichert*, N. Torugsa, P.A. Zawislak, A. Arundel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study explores the configurations of innovation capabilities ("recipes") that enable firms in low-technology industries ("low-tech firms") to achieve high innovative performance. Using a sample of 614 Brazilian low-tech firms, the study employs fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to identify how the four capabilities - development, operations, management and transaction - combine to produce high innovative performance. The analyses identify two recipes for innovation success, both of which include high levels of development and transaction capabilities. However, these two capabilities (while necessary) are not sufficient for achieving high innovative performance: they are meaningful only when combined with either a management or an operations capability. The study contributes to a comprehensive understanding of innovation in low-tech industries by showing that low-tech firms, even with limited research and development capacities, can successfully innovate when they develop and use an appropriate set of capabilities. The study results should help managers uncover potential ways of combining capabilities for innovation success and suggest that low-tech firms could benefit from policy support and training to develop such capabilities. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5437-5441
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

JEL classifications

  • o32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D


  • Fuzzy-set QCA
  • Innovation capabilities
  • Innovative performance
  • Low-tech firms

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