Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Small Business Management 58:1 (2020), pp 164–199.



Copyright © 2019 International Council for Small Business. Published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Studying the CEOs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the US metalcasting industry—an industry that has been steadily declining for several years—we develop a theoretical model to examine how CEO scanning behaviors in the form of scanning intensity and proactiveness influence self-efficacy, which in turn influences firm innovation and performance. We extend theory and research by (a) demonstrating of the role and influence of SME CEOs over firm innovation and performance in declining industries, (b) illustrating how scanning provides social learning opportunities for CEOs that enhance their levels of self-efficacy, and (c) showing that self-efficacy mediates the effects of scanning on firm innovation and performance.