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Selecting and developing organizational routines to support innovation
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6056-5172
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4488-1028
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Creating conditions conducive to innovation requires companies to consider a broad range of aspects and not the least identifying and implementing new processes and routines. The purpose of this paper is to address what innovation routines are selected and developed in a company with the ambition to involve a broad base of its employees in innovation. It investigates the similarities and differences of organizational routines selected in four different units in a large global R&D organization and analyses reasons to and consequences of these differences. The study shows that how innovation is regarded in an organization will play an important role, that addressing innovation as a process is critical and that the conflicts emerging when people strive to create new routines that largely deviate from normal operations can become a valuable source for innovation capabilities. By combining innovation management research with recent organizational routines literature this paper is able to identify some interesting patterns both when it comes to how innovation routines are selected and developed and when it comes to what routine characteristics can be more or less effectively combined to support innovation. The study aims to contribute to the emerging literature exploring intra-organizational evolution of ideas and routines.

Keyword [en]
Innovation Management.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Machine Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-165829OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-165829DiVA: diva2:808888
Note

QS 2015

Available from: 2015-04-29 Created: 2015-04-29 Last updated: 2015-05-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Making innovation everyone´s business: Using routines and controls
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making innovation everyone´s business: Using routines and controls
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Contemporary high-technology companies are under pressure to deliver short-term profits and to serve the market demands for future innovative solutions. An increased interest for alternative innovations such as new services or business models to be recognized in parallel to new technologies results in that companies are increasingly attempting to engage all their employees in innovation. This requires attention to what ways of working need to be changed in order to better support employees in pursuing both induced and autonomous initiatives i.e. to realize ideas that are aligned to and those that deviate from a company´s existing strategy and operational models. A key challenge is related to understanding how to develop organizational routines; how to make use of management controls to support both types of initiatives despite their different needs and, make the changes in routines and controls become accepted throughout the organization. Surprisingly few studies deal with understanding how managers or assigned employees in companies go about to address these issues.

The overall purpose of this thesis is to increase knowledge on how innovation capabilities are built when involving a broad base of employees in innovation in large and mature organizations. More specifically, this thesis seeks to understand what characterizes organizational routines and what are the consequences from using different types of management controls supporting employees in pursuing both induced and autonomous initiatives. The thesis is made up of four qualitative studies that explore how a planned effort to deliberately involve a broad base of employees in innovation is performed and experienced by actors representing different hierarchical levels and functions in two large and world-leading high-technology companies.

The research shows how involving employees in innovation can be made possible through a conscious and creative design and usage of routines and controls. The thesis shows that an upper management call for an increased number of induced and autonomous initiatives results in the use of diverse approaches to achieve this goal even within the same organization due to personal beliefs and experiences of what innovation needs and due to a bias towards either personnel or action management controls. Further, a strong focus on developing organizational routines to initiate innovation was observed at the expense of routines for selection and development of new initiatives. The studies show also that the outcome is dominated by incremental process improvements and the underlying reason to this result is discussed in this thesis.

Four characteristics were identified that distinguish organizational routines used in settings successfully supporting employees in pursuing both induced and autonomous initiatives : i) routines targeting selection, development and retention in an innovation process, ii) routines were frequently used and were somewhat linked to other routines, iii) routines to support resource owners and/or customers to come in direct contact with innovators to evaluate and develop new ideas in an atmosphere characterized by a mix of playfulness and seriousness were developed and finally iv) a combination of personnel and actions controls were used. Implications for innovation management, organizational routine and management control research are discussed.

Finally, a re-thinking and re-design of the performance management is suggested, taking into consideration the potential in using measurement and goal setting to provide effective means to support both induced and autonomous initiatives. The studies showed that the use of performance measurement can act as a trigger for managers to take actions. In addition, the thesis identified the value in improving the understanding of how result controls, specifically goals, can be formulated and used to stimulate different types of innovative behaviors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. 88 p.
Series
TRITA-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2015:03
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-165832 (URN)978-91-7595-549-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-20, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150504

Available from: 2015-05-04 Created: 2015-04-29 Last updated: 2015-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, SusanneRitzén, Sofia

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