The performance implications of leveraging internal innovation through social media networks: An empirical verification of the smart fashion industry
Despite rigorous empirical research exploring the changes in innovation dynamics triggered by Social Media Networks (SMNs), the benefits coming from the use of these digital platforms for knowledge search in innovative activities for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are still unexplored. Customers become the new trailblazers. Thus, by adopting a customer led innovation perspective, this paper seeks to measure the effect on return on investment (ROI) of the use of SMNs as external drivers for supporting internal innovation search processes. On the basis of the extant literature on information system and social network analysis, the research describes and evaluates the multidimensional activities interwoven into the open innovation process, driven by integrating the five constructs of structural dimension, relational behaviour, cognitive dimension, knowledge transfer, and legitimization into our hypothesised conceptual model.Empirical research was conducted via the Classification Regression Tree (CART) on a sample of 2548 SMEs belonging to the fashion industry and based in Italy and in the United Kingdom. This study is of importance to academics and practitioners due to the increasing significance taken on by the adoption of social media networks in the fashion industry to improve innovation search. Recommendations are made to fashion managers and social media experts to support the planning and development of new products and services. New contributions are offered to the innovation and knowledge management literature. In addition, theoretical implications and avenues for future research are also considered.