Linking inter-organizational collaboration, innovation, and internationalization in SMEs: a systematic review

Nadia Zahoor, Omar Al-Tabbaa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


Inter-organizational collaboration (IOC) has been widely claimed as influential in enhancing SMEs innovation and internationalization performance. However, the literature on this topic is fragmented, consistent views on the relationships between the three constructs (IOC, innovation and internationalization) is largely missed. To address this gap, we conducted a comprehensive systematic review (with narrative synthesis technique) of 117 empirical studies published between 2000 and 2016 that address relationships between these three constructs (IOC-innovation, IOC-internationalization, and IOC-innovating-internationalization) in SMEs setting. Our study reveals that there is an upward trend (yet varies across the three relationships) in publishing articles on this subject overtime. In addition, we show the building blocks underpinning the dominating variables in these studies including enablers, moderators, mediators, and outcomes. Overall, the analysis suggests that while IOC, innovation and internationalization research has made significant progress over the years, there are still substantial gaps in the literature, which leave important areas for further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of International Business UK & Ireland Chapter (AIB-UKI) Conference
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2017


  • inter-organizational collaboration
  • innovation
  • internationalization
  • SMEs
  • systematic review


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