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Article

Rangapriya Kannan and Paola Perez-Aleman

Innovation adoption is challenging at both intra-organizational and interorganizational levels. Several decades of innovation adoption research have identified various barriers at both levels. Intra-organizational barriers are often related to the characteristics of the innovation, adopters, managers, environment, and ecosystem but can also include an incompatibility with an organization’s strategy, structural impediments, organizational resource constraints, a lack of fit of the innovation with an organizational culture and climate, decision making challenges, a lack of integration with an organization’s knowledge management, human resource management practices, dynamic capabilities, and active innovation resistance from customers. Interorganizational barriers include uncertainty with learning and implementation, the distributed nature of the innovation process, differences in production systems, disparities in regulatory systems, variation within local contexts, and the nature of embedded knowledge adopted in diverse organizational contexts. One of the key missing aspects in understanding innovation adoption is how extant practices within an organizational or interorganizational context enhance or hinder innovation adoption. Although the practices of innovation adoption emerge and evolve dynamically, existing research does not highlight fine-grained practices that lead to its success or failure. A practice lens focuses on people’s recurrent actions and helps to understand social life as an ongoing production that results from these actions. The durability of practices results from the reciprocal interactions between agents and structures that are embedded within daily routines. A practice lens allows us to study practices from three different perspectives. The first perspective, empirically explores how people act in organizational contexts. The second, a theoretical focus investigates the structure of organizational life. This perspective also delves into the relations between the actions that people take over time and in varying contexts. Finally, the third perspective which is a philosophical one focuses on how practices reproduce organizational reality. By focusing on the unfolding of constellations of everyday activities in relation to other practices within and across time and space, a practice lens hones in on everyday actions. Everyday actions are consequential in producing the structural contours of social life. A practice lens emphasizes what people do repeatedly and how those repetitive actions impact the social world. A practice theory lens also challenges the assumption that things are separable and independent. Instead, it focuses on relationality of mutual constitution to understand how one aspect of the issue creates another aspect. Relationality of mutual constitution is the notion that things such as identities, ideas, institutions, power, and material goods take on meaning only when they are enacted through practices instead of these being innate features of these things Focusing on duality forces us to address the assumptions that underlie the separation. A practice perspective on innovation adoption highlights the concepts of duality, dynamics, reciprocal interactions, relationality, and distributed agency to inform both the theory and practice of innovation adoption. Understanding these concepts enables a practice lens for successful adoption of innovations that impact organizational and societal outcomes, such as economic development, productivity enhancement, entrepreneurship, sustainability, equity, health, and other economic, social, and environmental changes.

Article

Linus Dahlander and Henning Piezunka

Crowdsourcing—a form of collaboration across organizational boundaries—provides access to knowledge beyond an organization’s local knowledge base. There are four basic steps to crowdsourcing: (a) define a problem, (b) broadcast the problem to an audience of potential solvers, (c) take actions to attract solutions, and (d) select from the set of submitted ideas. To successfully innovate via crowdsourcing, organizations must complete all these steps. Each step requires an organization to make various decisions. For example, organizations need to decide whether its selection is made internally. Organizations must take into account interdependencies among these four steps. For example, the choice between qualitative and quantitative selection mechanisms affects how widely organizations should broadcast a problem and how many solutions they should attract. Organizations must make many decisions, and they must take into account the many interdependencies in each key step.

Article

Per Davidsson, Jan Recker, and Frederik von Briel

“External enabler” (EE) denotes nontrivial changes to the business environment—such as new technology, regulatory change, demographic and sociocultural trends, macroeconomic swings, and changes to the natural environment—that enable entrepreneurial pursuits. The EE framework was developed to increase knowledge accumulation in entrepreneurship and strategy research regarding the influence of environmental factors on entrepreneurial endeavors. The framework provides detailed structure and carefully defined terminology to describe, analyze, and explain the influence of changes in the business environment on entrepreneurial pursuits. EE characteristics specify the environmental changes’ range of impact in terms of spatial, sectoral, sociocultural, and temporal scope as well as the degree of suddenness and predictability of their onset. EE mechanisms specify the types of benefits individual ventures may derive from EEs. Among others, these include cost saving, resource provision, making possible new or improved products/services, and demand expansion. EE roles situate these (anticipated) mechanisms in entrepreneurial processes as triggering and/or shaping and/or outcome-enhancing. EE’s influence is conceived of as mediated by entrepreneurial agency that—in addition to agent characteristics—is contingent on the opacity (difficulty to identify) and agency-intensity (difficulty to exploit) of EE mechanisms, with the ensuing enablement being variously fortuitous or resulting from strategic deliberation.

Article

Alfredo De Massis, Emanuela Rondi, and Samuel Wayne Appleton

The involvement of families in firms’ ownership, management, and governance is a key driver of organizational attitudes, behaviors, and performances, especially those related to innovation. Starting from the beginning of the 21st century, the academic interest toward family firm innovation has bloomed. This body of research has mostly emerged from family firm scholars, while mainstream innovation scholars have often overlooked family variables in their studies. Indeed, innovation is one of the main areas in family firm research, integrating family and business aspects, leading to a plethora of sometimes contradictory findings. Initially, research compared innovation between family and nonfamily firms. While this approach has been beneficial to the rise of this stream of research and underlined the idiosyncratic characteristics of family firms on this matter, it soon emerged that within family firms there is a high degree of heterogeneity, especially in their attributes and the way they relate to innovation. Therefore, scholars have delved deeper into the heterogeneous influence that different types and degrees of family involvement in the firm can exert on innovation. This vast body of literature can be reconciled according to an antecedents–activities–outcomes framework allowing to attune current understanding of family firm innovation and recommend directions for future research. While most of current research has examined the antecedents of family business innovation, further examination of the activity of innovating in family firms is needed. Fostering accessibility to this literature allows students, practitioners, and scholars to grasp and digest this insightful area of family business research. It also encourages an extension of the range of perspectives adopted to examine innovation in family firms, contributing to advance current knowledge.

Article

Erik E. Lehmann and Julian Schenkenhofer

The pursuit of economic growth stands out as one of the main imperatives within modern economies. Nevertheless, economies differ considerably in their competitiveness. Theories on the endogeneity of growth agree on the value of knowledge creation and innovativeness to determine a country’s capability to achieve a sustained performance and to adapt to the dynamics of changing environments and faster information flows. To this effect, national institutional regimes shape nation-specific contexts and embed individuals and firms. The resulting incentive structures shape the attitudes and behavior of individuals and firms alike, whose interactions contribute to the accumulation and flow of knowledge among the nodes of their networks. National systems of innovation (NSIs) therefore embody a concept that aims to analyze the national innovation performance of economies. It rests its rationale in the variation of national institutions that shape the diffusion of technologies through the process of shared knowledge creation and the development of learning routines. Both public and private institutions are thought to interact in a given nation-specific institutional context that essentially affects incentive schemes and resource allocation of the involved economic agents in creating, sharing, distributing, absorbing, and commercializing knowledge. To this effect, public policy plays a key role in the NSI through building bridges between these actors, reducing information asymmetries, and providing them with resources from others within the system. The different actors contributing to the creation and diffusion of knowledge within the system are needed to exchange information and provide the engine for sustained economic growth. Universities, research institutes, companies and the individual entrepreneur are in charge of shaping their economic system in a way that resource and skill complementarities are exploited to the mutual benefit.

Article

Greg Fisher

Starting an entrepreneurial endeavor is an uncertain and ambiguous project. This uncertainty and ambiguity make it difficult for entrepreneurs to generate much needed resources and support. In order to address this difficulty, a new venture needs to establish legitimacy, which entails being perceived as desirable, proper, or appropriate within the socially constructed system of norms, values, beliefs, and definitions within which it operates. New venture legitimacy is generated from various sources and hence has three broad dimensions—a cognitive, a moral, and a pragmatic dimension. The cognitive dimension accounts for the extent to which the activities and purpose of a venture are understood by key audiences and how knowledge about that venture spreads. The moral dimension reflects the extent to which a venture is perceived to be doing the right thing. The pragmatic dimension accounts for the extent to which a new venture serves the interests of critical constituents. All three of these dimensions factor into a legitimacy assessment of a new venture. Legitimacy is important for new ventures because it helps them overcome their liabilities of newness, allowing them to mobilize resources and engage in transactions, thereby increasing their chances of survival and success. Although legitimacy matters for almost all new ventures, it is most critical if an entrepreneur engages in activities that are new and novel, such as establishing a new industry or market or creating a new product or technology. In these circumstances, it is most important for entrepreneurs to strategically establish and manage a new venture’s legitimacy. The strategic establishment and management of new venture legitimacy may entail arranging venture elements to conform with the existing environment, selecting key environments in which to operate, manipulating elements of the external environment to align with venture activities, or creating a whole new social context to accommodate a new venture. Enacting each of these new venture legitimation strategies may necessitate employing identity, associative, and organizational mechanisms. Identity mechanisms include cultural tools and identity claims such as images, symbols, and language by entrepreneurs to enhance new venture legitimacy. Associative mechanisms reflect the formation of relationships and connections with other individuals and entities to establish new venture legitimacy. Organizational mechanisms account for manipulating the organization and structure of a new venture and the achievement of success measures by that venture to attain legitimacy. Ultimately all of this is done so that various external parties, with different logics and perspectives, will evaluate a new venture as legitimate and be prepared to provide that venture with resources and support.

Article

Fariborz Damanpour

Innovation is a complex construct and overlaps with a few other prevalent concepts such as technology, creativity, and change. Research on innovation spans many fields of inquiry including business, economics, engineering, and public administration. Scholars have studied innovation at different levels of analysis such as individual, group, organization, industry, and economy. The term organizational innovation refers to the studies of innovation in business and public organizations. Studies of innovations in organizations are multidimensional, multilevel, and context-dependent. They investigate what external and internal conditions induce innovation, how organizations manage innovation process, and in what ways innovation changes organizational conduct and outcome. Indiscreet application of findings from one discipline or context to another, lack of distinction between generating (creating) and adopting (using) innovations, and likening organizational innovation with technological innovation have clouded the understanding of this important concept, hampering its advancement. This article organizes studies of organizational innovation to make them more accessible to interested scholars and combines insights from various strands of innovation research to help them design and conduct new studies to advance the field. The perspectives of organizational competition and performance and organizational adaptation and progression are introduced to serve as platforms to position organizational innovation in the midst of innovation concepts, elaborate differences between innovating and innovativeness, and decipher key typologies, primary sets of antecedents, and performance consequences of generating and adopting innovations. The antecedents of organizational innovation are organized into three dimensions of environmental (external, contextual), organizational (structure, culture), and managerial (leadership, human capital). A five-step heuristic based on innovation type and process is proposed to ease understanding of the existing studies and select suitable dimensions and factors for conducting new studies. The rationale for the innovation–performance relationship in strands of organizational innovation research, and the employment of types of innovation and performance indicators, is articulated by first-mover advantage and performance gap theory, in conjunction with the perspectives of competition and performance and of adaptation and progression. Differences between effects of technological and nontechnological innovation and stand-alone and synchronous innovations are discussed to articulate how and to what extent patterns of the introduction of different types of innovation could contribute to organizational performance or effectiveness. In conclusion, ideas are proposed to demystify organizational innovation to allure new researches, facilitate their learning, and provide opportunities for the development of new studies to advance the state of knowledge on organizational innovation.

Article

Pankaj Setia, Franck Soh, and Kailing Deng

Organizations are widely building digital platforms to transform operations. Digital platforms represent a new way of organizing, as they leverage technology to interconnect providers and consumers. Using digital technologies, organizations are platformizing operations, as they open their rigid and closed boundaries by interconnecting providers and consumers through advanced application programming interfaces (APIs). Early research examined platformized development of technology products, with software development companies—such as Mozilla Foundation—leading the way. However, contemporary organizations are platformizing nontechnology offerings (e.g., ride-sharing or food delivery). With growing interest in platforms, the basic tenets underlying platformization are still not clear. This article synthesizes previous literature examining platforms, with the aim of examining what platformization is and how and why organizations platformize.