Stra.Tech.Man innovation, HRM and Perception of Educational Needs in Underdeveloped Business Ecosystems: The Case of Retail Sector Firms in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

Charis Vlados, Dimos Chatzinikolaou


Innovation becomes widely perceived as the most significant ingredient of socioeconomic development, for all types of organizations, at all spatial levels. This study aims to examine how a specific category of business people understand the phenomenon of innovation in relation to the dimensions of Human Resource Management (HRM) and intra- and external business education and training. It explores in particular how the firms of a less developed regional business ecosystem perceive this triangle of innovation-education-human resources, what is their current image and how this comprehension evolves over the last years. Through field research in firms located in the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, we highlight these qualitative correlations between innovation, workforce management, training, and education. Our findings suggest that the “image” of these entrepreneurs to these issues lacks interpretive depth and practical cohesion, which is related to pathogenies caused and causing the overall relative socioeconomic underdevelopment in the region. The originality of this research derives from the presentation and analysis of specific firms’ and professionals’ perceptions of innovation, which are relatively far from the standards set by the corresponding modern scientific literature and practice.

Full Text:



Akay, E., & Kunday, O. (2018). An empirical study of HRM systems, human and social capital development and their influence on innovation capabilities. International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research, 6(5), 21–39.

Akhtar, S., Ding, D. Z., & Le, G. (2008). Strategic HRM practices and their impact on company performance in Chinese enterprises. Human Resource Management, 47(1), 15–32.

Akter, N. (2016). Employee training and employee development is the predictors of employee performance; A study on garments manufacturing sector in Bangladesh. Journal of Business and Management, 18(11), 48–57.

Andrikopoulos, A., & Nastopoulos, C. (2015). Κρίση και ρεαλισμός [Crisis and Realism]. Athens: Propobos Publications.

Batterton, K. A., & Hale, K. N. (2017). The Likert scale: What it is and how to use it. Phalanx, 50(2), 32–39.

Battram, A. (1999). Navigating complexity: The essential guide to Complexity Theory in business and management. Industrial Society.

Berraies, S., & Chaher, M. (2014). Knowledge creation process and firms’ innovation performance: Mediating effect of organizational learning. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 4(1), 204–222.

Black, K. (2010). Business statistics: Contemporary decision making (6th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Boden, M. (2017). Ris3 Implementation in lagging regions: Lessons from Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. European Structural & Investment Funds Journal, 5(1), 77–83.

Boden, M., dos Santos, P., Haegeman, K., Marinelli, E., & Valero, S. (2015). European Parliament Preparatory Action: Actual and desired state of the economic potential in regions outside the Greek capital Athens (EUR 27570). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Bourke, J., & Crowley, F. (2015). The role of HRM and ICT complementarities in firm innovation: Evidence from transition economies. International Journal of Innovation Management, 19(5), 1550054.

Chatterjee, S. R. (2007). Human Resource Management in India: ‘Where From’ and ‘Where To?’’.’ Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 15(2), 92–103.

Chatzinikolaou, D., & Vlados, C. (2019). Schumpeter, neo-Schumpeterianism, and Stra.Tech.Man evolution of the firm. Issues in Economics and Business (International Economics and Business), 5(2), 80–102.

Chen, C. J., & Huang, J. W. (2009). Strategic human resource practices and innovation performance—The mediating role of knowledge management capacity. Journal of Business Research, 62(1), 104–114.

Chowhan, J. (2016). Unpacking the black box: Understanding the relationship between strategy, HRM practices, innovation and organizational performance. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(2), 112–133.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th edition, international student edition). SAGE.

Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Ramamurti, R. (2017). Home country underdevelopment and internationalization: Innovation-based and escape-based internationalization. Competitiveness Review, 27(3), 217–230.

Davis, K. E., Ekboir, J., & Spielman, D. J. (2008). Strengthening Agricultural Education and Training in sub-Saharan Africa from an innovation systems perspective: A case study of Mozambique. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 14(1), 35–51.

Delapierre, M., & Mytelka, L. K. (2002). Blurring boundaries: New inter-firm relationships and the emergence of networked, knowledge-based oligopolies. In The Changing Boundaries of the Firm: Explaining Evolving Inter-firm Relations (pp. 73–94). London; New York: Routledge.

Di Stefano, G., Gambardella, A., & Verona, G. (2012). Technology push and demand pull perspectives in innovation studies: Current findings and future research directions. Research Policy, 41(8), 1283–1295.

Drucker, P. (2002). The discipline of innovation. Harvard Business Review, 80, 95–104.

Dudwick, N. (2006). Analyzing social capital in context: A guide to using qualitative methods and data. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Institute.

Eurostat. (2020a, March 5). Real growth rate of regional gross value added (GVA) at basic prices by NUTS 2 regions—Percentage change on previous year. Database - Eurostat. (Accessed: 2020-03-19)

Eurostat. (2020b, March 9). SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards). Database - Eurostat. (Accessed: 2020-03-19)

Eurostat. (2020c, March 18). Gross domestic product (GDP) at current market prices by NUTS 2 regions. Database - Eurostat. (Accessed: 2020-03-19)

Freeman, C. (1987). Technology, policy, and economic performance: Lessons from Japan. London; New York: Pinter Publishers.

Gaffikin, F., & Morrissey, M. (2001). The other crisis: Restoring competitiveness to Northern Ireland’s regional economy. Local Economy, 16(1), 26–37.

GEST. (1986). Grappes technologiques: Les nouvelles stratégies d’entreprise. Auckland; New York: McGraw-Hill.

Geus, A. de. (2002). The living company. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Gopaldas, A. (2016). A front-to-back guide to writing a qualitative research article. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 19(1), 115–121.

Hassan, S. (2016). Impact of HRM practices on employee’s performance. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 6(1), 15–22.

Hodge, S., Smith, E., & Barratt-Pugh, L. (2016). Towards a model of learning and development practice. International Journal of Human Resource Development: Practice, Policy & Research, 1(2), 7–25.

Horlings, I., & Padt, F. (2013). Leadership for sustainable regional development in rural areas: Bridging personal and institutional aspects. Sustainable Development, 21(6), 413–424.

Huggins, R., & Williams, N. (2011). Entrepreneurship and regional competitiveness: The role and progression of policy. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 23(9–10), 907–932.

Ildiko, E., & Peter, P. (2020). Industrial policy revival in France: New dilemmas, challenges and instruments. Ter Es Tarsadalom, 34(1), 96–118.

Kadiresan, V., Selamat, M. H., Selladurai, S., Ramendran, C. S., & Mohamed, R. K. M. H. (2015). Performance appraisal and training and development of human resource management practices (HRM) on organizational commitment and turnover intention. Asian Social Science, 11(24), 162–176.

Katimertzopoulos, F., & Vlados, C. (2017). Local support mechanisms for entrepreneurship: The approach of local development and innovation institutions. International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research, 10(1), 30–41.

Kelly, K. (1994). Out of control: The new biology of machines, social systems and the economic world. New York: Basic Books.

Kumar, R. (2012). Human resource information system: An innovative strategy for human resource management. Gian Jyoti E-Journal, 1(2), 1–12.

Lazzeretti, L., Sedita, S. R., & Caloffi, A. (2014). Founders and disseminators of cluster research. Journal of Economic Geography, 14(1), 21–43.

Lewin, K. (1946). Action research and minority problems. Journal of Social Issues, 2(4), 34–46.

Liguori, E., Bendickson, J., Solomon, S., & McDowell, W. C. (2019). Development of a multi-dimensional measure for assessing entrepreneurial ecosystems. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 31(1–2), 7–21.

Lopez-Cabrales, A., Pérez-Luño, A., & Cabrera, R. V. (2009). Knowledge as a mediator between HRM practices and innovative activity. Human Resource Management, 48(4), 485–503.

Lundvall, B.-Å. (1992). National Innovation Systems: Towards a theory of innovation and interactive learning. London: Pinter Publishers.

Machado, C. (2018). Training and development of human resources: A brief contribution to a better understanding of its relevance. In C. Machado & J. P. Davim (Eds.), Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management: A Guide to a Specialized MBA Course (pp. 173–203). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Mariappanadar, S. (2005). An emic approach to understand culturally indigenous and alien human resource management practices in global companies. Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 13(2), 31–48.

Marimuthu, M., Arokiasamy, L., & Ismail, M. (2009). Human capital development and its impact on firm performance: Evidence from developmental economics. Journal of International Social Research, 2(8), 265–272.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–396.

Mayo, E. (1930). The human effect of mechanization. The American Economic Review, 20(1), 156–176.

Moore, J. (2015). Shared purpose: A thousand business ecosystems, a connected community, and the future. (3rd ed.). Concord, Massachusetts: First Ecosystem.

Nelson, R. (1993). National innovation systems. A comparative analysis. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nelson, R., Dosi, G., Helfat, C., Winter, S., Pyka, A., Saviotti, P., Lee, K., Malerba, F., & Dopfer, K. (2018). Modern evolutionary economics: An overview. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ologbo, A. C., Nor, K. M., & Okyere-Kwakye, E. (2015). The influence of knowledge sharing on employee innovation capabilities. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 5(3), 102–110.

Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, B. (2006). Systems of innovation and underdevelopment: An institutional perspective. Science, Technology and Society, 11(2), 239–269.

Peters, M., Schneider, M., Griesshaber, T., & Hoffmann, V. H. (2012). The impact of technology-push and demand-pull policies on technical change – Does the locus of policies matter? Research Policy, 41(8), 1296–1308.

Popkova, E., Gornostaeva, Z., & Tregulova, N. (2018). Role of innovations in provision of competitiveness and innovational development of economy and overcoming of “underdevelopment whirlpools” in Russia and countries of Eastern Europe. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 10(3), 511–523.

Porter, M. (2000). Location, competition, and economic development: Local clusters in a global economy. Economic Development Quarterly, 14(1), 15–34.

Pylak, K. (2015). Changing innovation process models: A chance to break out of path dependency for less developed regions. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2(1), 46–72.

Raffaelli, R., & Glynn, M. A. (2015). Institutional Innovation: Novel, Useful, and Legitimate. In C. Shalley, M. A. Hitt, & J. Zhou (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (pp. 407–420). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Santos-Arteaga, F. J., Di Caprio, D., Tavana, M., & O’Connor, A. (2017). Innovation dynamics and labor force restructuring with asymmetrically developed national innovation systems. International Business Review, 26(1), 36–56.

Schumpeter, J. (1934). The theory of economic development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle (R. Opie, Trans.; Reprint Edition: New Brunswick, N.J, Transaction Books, 1983, Social science classics series). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Schwab, K. (2016). The fourth industrial revolution. New York: Crown Business.

Shahnaei, S., & Long, C. S. (2015). The review of improving innovation performance through human resource practices in organization performance. Asian Social Science, 11(9), 52–56.

Shipton, H., Sparrow, P., Budhwar, P., & Brown, A. (2017). HRM and innovation: Looking across levels. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(2), 246–263.

Smith, A., Courvisanos, J., Tuck, J., & McEachern, S. (2012). Building the capacity to innovate: The role of human capital. In National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Adelaide, Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd.

Sparrow, P. (2016). Strategic HRM, innovation and HR delivery for human resource management, innovation and performance. In Human Resource Management, Innovation and Performance (pp. 15–31). Palgrave Macmillan.

Spigel, B., & Harrison, R. (2018). Toward a process theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 12(1), 151–168.

van Uden, A., Knoben, J., & Vermeulen, P. (2017). Human capital and innovation in Sub-Saharan countries: A firm-level study. Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice, 19(2), 103–124.

Vlados, Ch. (2006). Η δυναμική της παγκοσμιοποίησης και οι επιχειρήσεις στην Ελλάδα [Globalization dynamics and the enterprises in Greece]. Athens, Greece: Kritiki Publications.

Vlados, Ch. (2017). Παγκόσμια κρίση, καινοτομία και διαχείριση αλλαγής: Η προσέγγιση Stra.Tech.Man [Global crisis, innovation and change management: The Stra.Tech.Man perspective]. Athens, Greece: Kritiki Publications.

Vlados, Ch. (2019). Change management and innovation in the “living organization”: The Stra.Tech.Man approach. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 7(2), 229–256.

Vlados, Ch., & Chatzinikolaou, D. (2019a). Business ecosystems policy in Stra.Tech.Man terms: The case of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 15(3), 163–197.

Vlados, Ch., & Chatzinikolaou, D. (2019b). The multiple perception of innovation: The case of micro and small enterprises in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Business and Economics, 7(1), 17–41.

Vlados, Ch., & Chatzinikolaou, D. (2019c). Strategy perception and implementation on less developed business ecosystems micro and small enterprises: The service sector of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Business Management and Strategy, 10(2), 27–63.

Vlados, Ch., & Chatzinikolaou, D. (2019d). Developments on helix theory: Exploring a micro-evolutionary repositioning in Stra.Tech.Man terms. International Journal of World Policy and Development Studies, 5(10), 87–99.

Vlados, Ch., Chatzinikolaou, D., Katimertzopoulos, F., & Koutroukis, T. (2019). Regional underdevelopment and less developed business ecosystems: The case of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Bulletin of Applied Economics, 6(2), 31–44.

Vlados, Ch., Deniozos, N., Chatzinikolaou, D., & Demertzis, M. (2018). Conceptual misunderstandings in the structuration of anti-crisis economic policy: Lessons from the Greek case. Journal of Governance and Public Policy, 5(3), 283–322.

Vlados, Ch., Deniozos, N., & Chatzinikolaou, D. (2018). Towards a new approach of local development under crisis conditions: Empowering the local business ecosystems in Greece, by adopting a new local development policy. International Journal of Regional Development, 5(1), 1–24.

Vlados, Ch., & Katimertzopoulos, F. (2018). Assessing meso and micro-competitiveness boosting policies, in Stra.Tech.Man terms. International Journal of Business and Social Research, 8(9), 1–15.

Vlados, Ch., Katimertzopoulos, F., Chatzinikolaou, D., Deniozos, N., & Koutroukis, T. (2019). Crisis, innovation and change management in less developed local business ecosystems: The case of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Perspectives of Innovations, Economics and Business, 19(2), 114–140.

Walsh, J., & Winsor, B. (2019). Socio-cultural barriers to developing a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy.

Wight, B. (1958). The human resources function. New Haven; Connecticut: Yale Labor and Management Center, Yale University.

Williams, N., & Vorley, T. (2014). Economic resilience and entrepreneurship: Lessons from the Sheffield City Region. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 26(3–4), 257–281.

Worley, P. (2015). Open thinking, closed questioning: Two kinds of open and closed question. Journal of Philosophy in Schools, 2(2), 17–29.


Copyright (c) 2020 Charis Vlados, Dimos Chatzinikolaou

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


Copyright © Macrothink Institute  

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.