The Role of an SME’s Green Strategy in Public-Private Eco-Innovation Initiatives: The Case of Ecoprofit

Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 25(4), pp. 451-477, 2012

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 Last revised: 19 Jan 2018

See all articles by Erik G. Hansen

Erik G. Hansen

Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz

Johanna Klewitz

Leuphana University of Lueneburg - Dept. of Sustainability Sciences

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Increasingly, eco-innovation is a major challenge for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). To diffuse eco-innovation, public support programs have been established as interorganizational networks between local authorities and smaller companies. Based on seven public private partnership cases from the eco-efficiency Ecoprofit initiative, we identified three behavioral patterns (hold-up, step-up, and frontrunner) developed by the companies within the partnership. These were the result of an interaction between the companies’ green strategy and their related level of absorptive capacity which influenced their ability to respond to the handholding processes offered in the partnership. Reactive companies mostly benefit from agent-based instruments (for example individual consulting). More proactive companies can also capitalize on peer-based handholding (for example ‘clubs’). The longitudinal research design shows that public private partnerships can stimulate adaptations in a company’s green strategy over time. Propositions and an integrated framework are developed with implications for policy makers.

Keywords: eco-innovation, sustainability, green strategy, absorptive capacity, ACAP, boundary spanning, public private partnerships (PPP), public support programs, case study, SMEs

JEL Classification: O31, O32, M11

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Erik G. and Klewitz, Johanna, The Role of an SME’s Green Strategy in Public-Private Eco-Innovation Initiatives: The Case of Ecoprofit (2012). Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 25(4), pp. 451-477, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2047000

Erik G. Hansen (Contact Author)

Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz ( email )

Linz
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://www.jku.at/iqd/content/e288348

Johanna Klewitz

Leuphana University of Lueneburg - Dept. of Sustainability Sciences ( email )

Scharnhorststrasse 1
Lüneburg, 21314
Germany

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