Original Research

Innovation capacity: A perspective on innovation capabilities of consulting engineering firms

Mahlatse M. Mogashoa, Olebogeng Selebi
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a372 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v13i1.372 | © 2021 Mahlatse M. Mogashoa, Olebogeng Selebi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2020 | Published: 03 March 2021

About the author(s)

Mahlatse M. Mogashoa, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Olebogeng Selebi, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Background: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in job creation and bridging the widening gap between the rich and the poor in South Africa. Several factors determine the success of SMEs. One largely-overlooked factor is innovation capacity, which is made up of different capabilities.

Aim: The aim of this study is to investigate the degree of innovation capacity in South African consulting engineering firms and to identify the differences in the innovation capabilities across firm size.

Setting: The target population for the study was consulting engineering firms operating in South Africa.

Methods: The study followed a quantitative methodology. The survey was distributed using an email invitation to participate in the study, which contained a link to access the questionnaire online.

Results: The results show that South African engineering consulting firms reported an ‘average’ to ‘high’ innovation capacity, where medium and large-sized firms performed similarly, and small firms lagged. The study found that there exists a significant hierarchy in performance for entrepreneurial capabilities, risk management capabilities and capabilities for market and customer knowledge: larger firms reported a higher scoring than smaller firms. It also found that small firms sharply lagged behind medium and large-sized firms regarding risk management capabilities and capabilities for market and customer knowledge.

Conclusion: The results intend to assist policymakers in prioritising lagging capabilities as the point of departure for capability-building efforts. In addition, the results should assist entrepreneurs in being mindful of the potential blind spots that could be hindering growth.


Keywords

innovation; innovation capacity; innovation capability; small, medium and large-sized enterprises; consulting engineering firms; survey; South Africa.

Metrics

Total abstract views: 476
Total article views: 583


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.