Date of Award

1-1-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Dr. Marc Saupin

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to: * examine how grantee firms of the Western Australian Innovation Support Scheme (WAISS) have overcome their impediments to commercialisation; * examine how the process of user-producer interaction has enabled grantee firms to commercialise their technologies; * examine the process of user-producer interaction with large and/or small industrial users, and the subsequent benefits derived; * examine the entry barriers faced by grantee firms in forming interactions with large industrial users. The study examined the literature involving the role of small firms in the development and commercialisation of new technologies. The study adopted a multiple, holistic case study design using qualitative methodology, A theoretical pathway constructed from arguments presented within the literature was the basis upon which the cases were analysed. The cases have demonstrated that the adoption of strategies promoting user-producer interaction through a dyadic problem-solving style approach with industrial users have enabled small firms to commercialise their technologies in industry. The cases have found that those firms interacting with large industrial users have experienced extensive product diversification and market expansion opportunities as opposed to those firms interacting with small industrial users. In addition to the product diversification and market expansion opportunities acquired through interactions with these large industrial users, it was clear that the large-scale marketing and distribution resources of these industrial users also enabled small firms to attract other industrial users, both domestically and internationally. This ultimately led to further product diversification and market expansion opportunities. Those firms that interacted with small industrial users experienced either minimal or no product diversification and market expansion opportunities because of the ‘small firm’ characteristics or these users. This meant that as 'small firms' these industrial users also faced constraints with regards to the availability of marketing resources and distribution channels, and were therefore unable to attract the interests of industrial users within large-scale markets. Those firms that experienced either minimal or no product diversification and market expansion opportunities have faced entry barriers typical to small firms when trying to find large industrial users for their technologies. They have been unable to attract the interests of large industrial users as a result of the high risk factors associated with the newness of their technologies and their credibility as a newly established firm. The study's main finding reveals that the commercialisation of small firm technologies, the commercial extent derived for these technologies, and the overcoming of barriers faced by the small firm, was dependent on the social orientation of user-producer interaction in conjunction with the dyadic information exchanges of technological opportunities and user needs.

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