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Embeddedness and innovation in low and medium technology rural enterprises

Kevin P. Heanue, David Jacobson


There has been a resurgence of interest in the relationship between location and the innovativeness of firms. The research question addressed in this paper is the role that location plays in the innovation processes of low and medium technology firms. The literature on innovation and geographic proximity, combined with a reconceptualisation of the Granovetterian concept of embeddedness, provide the theoretical context. Case studies of four Irish low and medium technology firms, two in the furniture industry and two in the metal products industry, provide the empirical setting. Among the issues addressed are whether or not deep, local embeddedness is essential for innovativeness and if there is a pattern of change over time in the nature of the relationship between embeddedness and innovation. The relevance of the research to rural industrial development is also assessed.

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