Original Articles

Actor networks and innovation activities among rural enterprises in a South African locality

DOI: 10.1080/20421338.2014.940169
Author(s): Kgabo Hector RamorokaHuman Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa, Peter JacobsHuman Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa, Hlokoma MangqalazaHuman Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa


Rural localities are often viewed as too remote, sparsely populated and poor in critical resources needed for them to be innovation hubs. This study contributes new evidence on how actor networks improve innovation performance among rural enterprises that are privately owned or are not-for-profit operators. We adopt an exploratory case study method to illustrate the channels of innovation know-how flows, the nature of actor networks, and their contribution to the ways in which new knowledge and practices promote or sustain local rural development.One key finding is that actor networks facilitate access to internal and external innovation know-how among rural enterprises. Another insight suggests that rural private and non-profit enterprises rely on face-to-face interactions with no contractual agreements. Furthermore, non-formal ways of sharing innovative ideas and practices frequently extend to rural actors who are considered to be outside a network.

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