2.1. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Industrial Parks
Industrial parks are planned and developed with provision of the physical infrastructure for the use of enterprises (Regional Conference on Industrial Parks, 2012), in order to accomplish the innovation capability and the R&D support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Park, 2016). In industrial park, buyers, producers, and suppliers can operate in the same location, thus cutting the transaction costs of economic learning while establishing new standards and norms of entrepreneurial behavior (Regional Conference on Industrial Parks, 2012). Since the SMEs have the limitations of manpower and resources, it is difficult for them to search for the promising fields autonomously (Park, 2016). Therefore, the formation of industrial parks has unquestionably built a better entrepreneurial ecosystem. Besides, entrepreneurial ecosystems have similarities with industrial districts, clusters, and innovation systems; entrepreneurs and spin-offs are present in these other frameworks but are not central as they are in entrepreneurial ecosystems (Stam & Spigel, 2017).
Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is a set of interconnected entrepreneurial actors, entrepreneurial organisations, institutions and entrepreneurial processes which formally and informally coalesce to connect, mediate and govern the performance within the local entrepreneurial environment (Andrews, 2014). Acs et al, (2017) accordingly identified entrepreneurial ecosystems as having developed from literatures in both business strategy and regional development.
2.2. Firms Capability
Capabilities represent the ability of the firm to combine efficiently a number of resources to engage in productive activity and attain a certain objective (Amit and Schoemaker, 1993; Collis, 1994). This reasoning suggests that capabilities are clearly an ‘intermediate transformation ability’ between resources and objectives (Dutta et al., 2005). Teece & Pisano, (1994) argue that it’s the subset of the competences/capabilities which allow the firm to create new products and processes and respond to changing market circumstances, while, Eisenhardt & Martin, (2000) stated that It’s the firm’s processes that use resources - specifically the processes to integrate, reconfigure, gain and release resources - to match or even create market change. In general capabilities are a unique combinations of organizational processes that collate strategic knowledge and lead to better firm performance (Ketata. 2014).
A successful large corporation derives competitive strength from its excellence in a small number of capabilities clusters (Dosi, Nelson & Winter, 2000), which might be useful for small firms too. Firms capability can be considered as Organizational capabilities embedded in firm routines (Collis, 1994) and associated with managerial capabilities (Paraschiv et al., 2012), Technological capabilities (Lee & Rhee, 2007), efficiency (Collis, 1994; Dutta et al., 2005), product delivery (Haeussler et al., 2010; Zheng et al., 2009; Camisón-Haba et al., 2018) and firms’ resources (Portillo-Tarragona et al., 2018). Therefore, the firm’s capability improvement may include technological capabilities, firm’s resource capabilities marketing capabilities and etc. For instance, organizational capability that can confer to the firm ability to adopt industrial innovations, is a technological capabilities (Bustinza et al., 2019).
Technological capabilities are fundamental for companies to acquire competitive advantage (Burgelman et al., 2004; Antonio et al., 2018). They exist within the context of additional organizational capabilities which help organizations and the individuals within them, to respond better when faced with challenges (Bustinza et al., 2019). Moreover, through technological capabilities, firms are able to successfully adopt technology that enables them to implement new techniques of production and in turn solve problems arising from the use of outdated production systems (Chen et al., 2014; Shin et al., 2012; Bustinza et al., 2019). On the other side, an in-depth analysis of the projects revealed a clear relation between the firms’ resources and capabilities (Portillo-Tarragona et al., 2018). Capabilities are considered as a “superior” resource because of “their capacity to deploy resources, usually in combination, using organizational processes, to effect a desired end” (Fainshmidt et al., 2016; Kamasak, 2017).
2.3. The role of IPs entrepreneurial ecosystem on firms capability improvement
Micro and small enterprises, as the drivers of indigenous entrepreneurship, play a key role in developing the global economy by improving technological capability building, diffusion of innovations and capital mobilization (Nabiswa and Mukwa, 2017). There is also a belief that IPs could play a positive role in economic development (Wei & Xie, 2000), through improving small firms capability. That is, improved SME competitiveness (influenced by firm’s capability) could obviously contribute to economic and social development and poverty reduction (OECD, 2004). More specifically, by clustering in to industrial parks, small, medium and even large enterprises can take advantage of improving capabilities obtained from public infrastructures, economize on construction and common facilities, and gain access to nearby skilled labour markets, research and educational facilities and other critical inputs (Falcke, 1999). Industrial park also encourage and help SME to participate effectively in national dialogues that help set the strategic frameworks for development (OECD, 2004); provide an institutional framework, modern services and a physical infrastructure (Regional Conference on Industrial Parks, 2012); and enhance relationships between different actors (Regional Conference on Industrial Parks, 2012), which can improve the capability of small firms. From this, we proposed that;
H1: As IPs entrepreneurial ecosystem becomes better, the better firms’ capability.
2.4. The moderating role of UIL
Collaborative capabilities have been considered significant by several authors; because of these capabilities, firms actively collaborate with research institutes, agencies and universities (Portillo-Tarragona et al., 2018). Like a cluster, an entrepreneurial ecosystem also involves as key actors of several other entities, including large firms, universities, financial firms, and public organizations that support new and growing firms (Brown & Mason, 2017). Therefore, the interaction of academia with industry provides consultancy, joint research & development or training (D’Este and Patel, 2007; Martin. 2000; Lesjak, 2012; Kökocak, 2006), incubation centres (Brennan, 2012), flow of knowledge and technology amongst universities, (Lesjak, 2012), collaboration development & techno-parks (Kökocak, 2006), and technology transfer offices (Kiziltaş, 2009). Parks are thus a useful tool to establish value added links between academic research and industry (Regional Conference on Industrial Parks, 2012). Understanding the nature of relationships between academic institutions and SMEs is therefore important, in view of the fact that concentrations of SMEs in certain regions, clustered around one or more university centres, can be effective locations for accelerating this process (Hendry et al., n.d ).
Companies may obtain innovation-related knowledge and technologies from academic institutions through engaging in academia-industry linkages (Bozeman, 2000; Feldman et al., 2002; D’Este and Patel, 2007) (Liu, 2009). Theoretically, the more that related firms cluster together, the lower the cost of production, and the greater the market in which the firms can sell (Hu et al., 2011). The study of Gulbrandsen & Solesvik, (2015) provides insights into how different universities with different resource endowments and knowledge bases identify, pursue and exploit opportunities related to cooperation with firms from their industrial clusters which can provide access to essential resources, competencies, knowledge and legitimacy. It is widely recognized that universities and other public research institutions play a central role within systems of innovation for basic research generation, technology transfer and knowledge diffusion to firms (Daniel A. and Anderea F, 2017; Bercovitz and Feldman, 2006; Hall et al., 2000; Mowery and Sampat 2005; Mowery and Shane 2002; Thursby and Thursby, 2011; Filippetti & Savona, 2017). The knowledge created through research can solve the industrial problems (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 1997). Therefore, the development of industrial links with academia can promote the innovation and the production (Westhead and Storey, 1994) (Bhutto & Lohana, 2018). Several studies proved the growth of those companies which have strong linkages with academia in comparison to those which do not have such linkages (Malairaja and Zawdie, 2008) (Bhutto & Lohana, 2018). Therefore, we hypothesized that;
H2: The existence of academia-industry linkage in industrial parks intensifies the influence of IPs entrepreneurial ecosystem on the improvement of small firm’s capability.
2.5. The role of entrepreneurship skill
Capabilities are predominantly viewed as the most important skills that underpin the development and deployment of resource (Molloy and Barney, 2015). Particularly, Teece, (2012) stated that as entrepreneurial skills encompass sensing, seizing and transforming, they are essential traits to develop dynamic capabilities. Capabilities include specific aspects including the ability of a firm to develop organizational systems that emphasize the development of skills (Camisón et al., 2018). As suggested by Phelan and Sharpley (2012), entrepreneurs require various skills to develop specific competencies to manage an enterprise. Basically, entrepreneurs have to learn a set of skills (Kutzhanova et al., 2009) from the entrepreneurial ecosystem and allow an individual to update his or her beliefs about entrepreneurial aptitude (Entrialgo and Iglesias, 2016). Then, this entrepreneurial skills foster individuals to feel competent and venture into entrepreneurship (Scherer et al., 1991; Al Mamun, 2019). The implication is that small businesses need to effectively utilize their organizational capabilities such as managerial systems, employee knowledge and skills, values and norms (Eikelenboom, 2005; Kamasak, 2017).
Particularly, technological capability is an expression used to encompass the system of activities, physical systems, skills and knowledge bases, managerial systems of learning and incentive, and values that generate an extraordinary benefit for a company (Ahmad et al., 2014). Besides, RBV was applied to explain the benefits of entrepreneurial competencies on entrepreneurial skills as practices and know-how instigate unique capabilities in the organization (Barney, 1991; Grant, 1991; Al Mamun, 2019). The RBV theory reveals that businesses have resources, skills and knowledge that are different among firms (Barney, 2001; Kamasak, 2017), which developed from the organized entrepreneurial ecosystem. Therefore,
H3: The entrepreneurial skill mediates the relationship between IPs entrepreneurial ecosystem and small firm’s capability improvement.
2.6. The role of Managerial knowledge
Following Koontz’s (1964) definition of managing, it can be adduced that managerial knowledge may be defined as knowledge regarding ‘the art of getting things done through or/and with people’ (Bosch and Van Wijk, 2000). Managerial capabilities are derived from activities involving the tacit knowledge deposited in managers (Camisón et al., 2018). Knowledge-based resources such as innovation capability, marketing capabilities and different production capabilities are vital firm resources (Calantone et al., 2002; Rangone, 1999; Kamasak, 2017). One of the most relevant is the absorptive capacity, which is the ability to take in external knowledge and use it for commercial purposes (Zahra & George, 2002; Costa et al., 2019). In explaining the rent generating capacity of top management as necessary to the emergence of cultural resources and organizational capabilities, Castanias and Helfat (1991) employ Katz’s (1955) classification to discern the different skills of a manager (Bosch and Van Wijk, 2000).
Particularly, technological capabilities are a knowledge-based comprehensive set of organizational capabilities that enable a firm to search, recognize, organize, apply and commercialize innovative products and services (Chang et al., 2012; Bustinza et al., 2019). This implies that technological capabilities requires managerial knowledge. That is, the knowledge of managers create capabilities to gain competitive advantage (Lengnick-Hall & Lengnick Hall, 2003; Costa et al., 2019). Besides, it can be argued the knowledge components of managerial knowledge are constituted by know-what, know-how, know-why, know-who, know-where, and know-when (Bosch and Van Wijk, 2000).
For a firm to gain superiority requires that top management possess a broad set of complementary skills. A single person, however talented, is unlikely to possess all the managerial skills that are required for the successful operation of a large organization (Carmeli and Tishler, 2004). But, as managers are different from each other, they will have different knowledge bases, which may lead them to make different decisions (Adner & Helfat, 2003; Marimuthu & Kolandaisamy, 2009). That is, a range of managerial skills enables a firm to deploy specific skills to cope with specific situations. Mahoney (1995) pointed out that ‘the attributes of the management team may satisfy the conditions for achieving and maintaining competitive advantage (Carmeli and Tishler, 2004). However, before the competitive advantage there must be an improvement in the firm’s capability from the managerial knowledge which developed from the good environment of entrepreneurial ecosystem.
H4: The managerial knowledge mediates the relationship between IPs entrepreneurial ecosystem and small firm’s resource capability improvement.