Finding the Best Fit: Considering the Role of Novelty in Project Selection for Small Businesses

Troy A. Voelker, Kuei-Hsien Niu, Grant E Miles

Abstract


More and more, small firms are operating in an environment characterized by projects.  While a variety of factors may ultimately play a role in the success or failure of any given project, we argue that project novelty is likely to be an overriding factor.  Project novelty, defined as the lack of relevant experience a firm has when pursuing a project, is offered as an extension of research in applicability and appropriateness of firm capabilities.  We posit that project novelty enables movement past general arguments offered for generalization and specialization and moves towards specifically testable firm-project fit models.  To that end this paper provides a working definition, four propositions and an estimation method appropriate for project attribute data.  Implications regarding project novelty and its role in the selection and pursuit of projects are developed both for managers of small businesses and for those who advise and/or train such managers.

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