The importance of social networks for the SME’s innovation potential in Industry 4.0

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Social network usage is a prerequisite for the functioning of companies and their competitiveness. The level, focus of their usage, and link with the company process are important. This research focuses on SMEs, how they use social networks, and how this affects their innovation potential. The study aims to determine the importance of social networks for SME’s competitiveness and long-term stability. To achieve this goal, 359 European SMEs were studied (2017–2019), two research questions and seven hypotheses were developed. Pearson’s correlation and stepwise regression were used, and the obtained results were verified by experimental testing. The research results showed that companies using social media as a main component of their business, are active at using modern technologies and are declaring the importance of social networks to develop innovation potential. Fastness and reliability of communication are crucial for business operations in the company. Social networks offer many opportunities and connections between strategic planning, controlling management, and performance level. All SMEs mostly use Facebook, and this does not depend on size, age or industry. The research results lead to the understanding that social networks and controlling-oriented management support SME business activities and their innovation potential and long-term stability in a hyper-competitive environment.

Acknowledgment
The paper has been prepared within the project “Risk Management in Industry 4.0” supported by the Specific University Research Funds of the University of Finance and Administration, Estonská 500, 101 00 Prague 10, Czech Republic. Funder ID: 04274644. 3. Award number: 7427/2019/02 IGA VŠFS.

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    • Table 1. Pearson’s correlation of variables
    • Table 2. Variables entered/removed
    • Table 3. Inclusion in the final model of dependent variable Social networks
    • Table 4. Model F-test
    • Table 5. The development of the determination coefficient value (R-squared)
    • Conceptualization
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Data curation
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Formal Analysis
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Funding acquisition
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Investigation
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Methodology
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Project administration
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Resources
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Software
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Supervision
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Validation
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Visualization
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Writing – original draft
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková
    • Writing – review & editing
      Přemysl Písař, Andrea Tomášková