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Innovation culture in small Tunisian ICT firms.

El Harbi, Sana; Anderson, Alistair R.; Amamou, Meriam


Sana El Harbi

Alistair R. Anderson

Meriam Amamou


Purpose: The research aims to ask whether, in the absence of overarching innovative conditions, a small firm can have an innovative culture and what its scale and scope is. Design/methodology/approach: The study employs four exploratory case studies. This methodological choice is justified in that a case study approach allows the use of the existing literature without inhibiting the detection of any unique characteristics in the Tunisian context. This context of a developing economy is likely to be different from established economies. Findings: The study finds evidence of a learning environment within the firms and a good fit with the concepts of an innovative culture. Internal knowledge sharing is evident for all companies. However, this culture faces inwards, so that the paucity of linkages and weak socialisation combines with institutional thinness to isolate the firms. Local competitive advantages are not amplified but rather are dampened by the relative absence of interaction. Research limitations/implications: Most research about innovation in the ICT sector is conducted in the context of developed countries. This paper shows the specificities and uniqueness of innovation culture in the context of a developing country. Practical implications: The findings imply that despite recent improvements, Tunisia lacks many of the regional "institutions" that produce the synergic benefits of an innovative milieu. Originality/value: The context of a developing country is novel. The value of the findings may, however, be extended to other similar countries. This is important given the role of ICT in 'catching up'.


EL HARBI, S., ANDERSON, A.R. and AMAMOU, M. 2014. Innovation culture in small Tunisian ICT firms. Journal of small business and enterprise development [online], 21(1), pages 132-151. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2014
Online Publication Date Feb 11, 2014
Publication Date Mar 31, 2014
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2016
Journal Journal of small business and enterprise development
Print ISSN 1462-6004
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 132-151
Keywords Entrepreneurship; ICT; Small firms; Innovation culture; Tunisia
Public URL


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