What are the success factors for Spanish textile firms? An exploratory multiple-case study

The objective of this article is to identify differential traits of successful SMEs in comparison to average SME firms in the textile and clothing sector. The method used is the multiple case-study of 12 firms based on qualitative and quantitative data obtained by means of in-depth interviews. Building on recent academic literature, we use four main dimensions that may explain success: i) knowledge generation (R&D) and acquisition; ii) innovation activity; iii) product and market characteristics and iv) strategic characteristics. Our results indicate that a higher R&D intensity and knowledge acquisition do not explain success. The main differential characteristic is that successful firms have a higher level of innovation activity, since innovation is their strategic priority, being a result of perceiving the key success factors of their markets differently. From the analysis it also follows that the prevalent strategy of successful firms is the niche strategy, with a demand pull focus, and a high proximity to the customer ​
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