A systematic analysis of the innovation-performance relationship in SMEs is lacking or even non-existence, there is a dire need to examine the interrelationship between antecedents of innovation, innovation process, and performance in SMEs. Thus, this researcher conducted a systematic review of literature and critically reviewed the relationship between innovation antecedents, innovation process, and firm performance. It found that researchers have chosen a wide range of factors as antecedents to innovation in their studies from differing perspectives, however, studies directly investigate the mediating pathway innovation created are limited and the results are mixed. In addition, review of the innovation-performance research findings are inconclusive and contradictory, as some research studies found negative performance implications of innovation as well. Hence, further empirical research is needed to establish the relationship between innovation capabilities, innovation process, and firm performance in SMEs from strategic management perspective.
innovation antecedents, innovation capability, innovation process, firm performance, SMEs