Does R&D offshoring lead to SME growth? Different governance modes and the mediating role of innovation Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2016

start page

  • 1734

end page

  • 1753


  • 37


  • 8

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0143-2095

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0266


  • In this article, we address the role of R&D offshoring strategies in the sales growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We propose that different governance modes of - offshoring-insourcing versus outsourcing-may lead to growth, but that they differ in their effects. In turn, we argue that innovation mediates the relation between international R&D sourcing strategies and sales growth. Based on a large database of SME manufacturing enterprises in Spain, we find that offshore outsourcing positively affects sales growth both directly and indirectly, while offshore insourcing only affects sales growth indirectly via innovation results. The analysis reveals different contributions of each governance mode to sales growth and the mediating role of innovation in the relation between offshoring and firm growth.


  • Mechanical Engineering


  • sales growth, offshore r&d insourcing, offshore r&d outsourcing, innovation; mediation, sme