Barriers and opportunities for small and medium-sized Thai food firms in the context of innovation management: The case of processed marine and processed fruit and vegetable sectors

  • Natawat Saigosoom

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


This dissertation deals with barriers and opportunities for small and medium sized Thai food firms in the context of innovation management, based on the case of processed marine and processed fruit and vegetable sectors, which are the main revenue contributors to the Thai food processing industry. Nature of firm innovation, barriers to innovations, main innovation activities, firm innovation performance, and the relationship between innovations and firm business performance of Thai food SMEs are all discussed in this study. The thesis aims to help SME entrepreneurs in the food industry to better foster innovations and also provides guidelines for policy makers to craft effective innovation policy for food SMEs. Additionally, it provides academic insight into the field of innovation management in the environment of Thai SMEs, where gaps in the literature exist.This research was achieved by the triangulation approach, which is a combination of quantitative and qualitative research techniques (i.e. document analysis, multiple-regression analysis, case studies) and was guided by a conceptual framework adapted from studies of innovation management, barriers to innovation, and innovation in the food industry. The literature review was first conducted, followed by pilot interviews in a semi-structured format with 10 Thai food firms, structured face-to-face interviews with 100 Thai food SMEs, and case studies with 4 Thai food SMEs. The findings of this research reveal that innovation can lead to improved firm business performance for Thai food SMEs, although this is a complex process, propelled by numerous factors, and overall innovation performance achieved by most survey firms was still low. During the innovation development phase, it appeared that most innovation activities in the survey food firms were driven informally on an in-house basis, and process-innovation activities were the main focus. Product innovations, however, were the main output in the phase of innovation deployment, followed by process and marketing innovations, while organisational innovations were the most overlooked area for most Thai food SMEs in this phase. However, it was process and marketing innovations that were the key determinants of overall firm growth in the surveyed food firms. Finally, investigations of the main barriers to developing innovations encountered by Thai food SMEs show that it was product innovation that was most seriously affected by a number of serious barriers to innovation. Resistance to change by customers, for instance, was one of the main obstacles impeding the product innovation efforts of sampled Thai food SMEs. Meanwhile, the development of process and marketing innovations was mainly hampered by the problems of weak employee skills and a lack of finance. A shortage of time on the part of decision makers was the most serious barrier to developing organisational innovations.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRaymond Oakey (Supervisor)

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