Bethany Davidson, Ph.D. is a 2018 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Davidson at her Dissertation Defense.

L-R: Dr. Lize Booysen, Committee Chair, Dr. Carol Baron, Committee Member, Mr. Joseph Lakatos [not shown] Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Lize Booysen, DBL, Committee Chair
  • Carol Baron, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Joseph Lakatos, LL,M., Committee Member

Document Type


Publication Date



This study explored open innovation activities in small and medium-sized enterprises. Most open innovation research to date has focused on large organizations; however, how large organizations engage in open innovation is very different from that of small and medium-size enterprises. The embedded design, mixed methods study utilized a survey delivered to owners or other organizational executives and employees of small and medium-size enterprises to solicit information regarding whether small and medium-size enterprises are actively engaging in inbound open innovation activities, their motivation for engaging in open innovation, and the sources they are utilizing to obtain new ideas for products and services. The survey also solicited the perception of executives and employees as to organizational processes for open innovation and their organization’s receptiveness to open innovation and employee ideas and compared the responses. Qualitative questions elicited employees’ experiences with regards to idea sharing within their organization. The majority of the 320 participants, almost evenly split between executives and employees, were recruited using Amazon’s® Mechanical Turk® platform. Results were analyzed using independent-samples t-tests and Chi-Square analysis. The study found that 91.2% of small and medium-size enterprises engaged in some level of open innovation activity. Executives from small and medium-size enterprises engaging in open innovation reported that 97.6% had open innovation formally or informally as part of their organization’s business model and that they utilized employees as an important source of ideas. The results of this study exploring the presence of processes to facilitate open innovation and receptiveness to employee ideas in small and medium-size enterprises, found a clear disconnect between executive and employee perception of what organizations are communicating and doing with executives perceiving a greater level of support for open innovation than employees. This study provides some insight into how small and medium-size enterprises and leaders can add value to the organization by improving their organization’s engagement in open innovation and encouraging one of their most important sources of ideas for new and improved products, services, and processes—employees. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive,, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Bethany Davidson, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0001-9161-4312

Bethany is passionate about developing organizational cultures and processes that foster innovation and facilitate individual creativity and employee innovation. As an Assistant Professor of Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Western Carolina University for 13 years, Bethany taught undergraduate and graduate classes including innovation and creativity, entrepreneurial leadership, intrapreneurship, and entrepreneurial strategy. Prior to teaching, she was Project Director for a University of Minnesota Center focused on rural economic development through agricultural diversification and value-added product development. Bethany also consults in the areas of: innovation leadership, open innovation, new product and service development, leadership development and training, executive and entrepreneur coaching, and venture startup and expansion.

Bethany holds Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts degrees in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She also holds Master of Business Administration and Master of Entrepreneurship degrees from Western Carolina University and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Authored article:

Lakatos, J., Shoulders, C. & Davidson, B. (2018). Enhanced Therapeutics: Leading a Drug Candidate through the Challenges of the FDA Drug Development Process. Applied Management Journal, 19, 123-150.

Lakatos, J., Davidson, B., & Sanney, K. (2017). Calling Wells Fargo’s CEO: Drive Widespread Cultural Change via Implementation of the Dynamic Organizational Model and Permeation of Servant Leadership throughout the Financial Institution. Journal of International Management Studies, 12(1), 1-8.

Davidson, B. and Lakatos, J. (2016). Achieving Organizational Change Through Servant Leadership: Jack Rooney as Exemplar. International Journal of Management Cases, 18(4), 43-53.

Lakatos, J. and Davidson, B. (2016). The Dynamic Organizational Model: Its Principles, Implementation Methods and Impact on Corporate Culture. The Journal of Global Business Management, 12(2), 129-137.

Davidson, B., White, B.J., and Taylor, M. (2012). The Rise of IT for Entrepreneurs and the Increasing Entrepreneurial Focus for IT Professionals. Issues in Information Systems, 13(2), 104-111.

Carpenter, M. and Davidson, B. (2011). Innovation and Creativity. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.