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Organising for innovation. A case study of innovation teams and team leadership in a large, R&D intensive firm

Robbins, Peter (2012) Organising for innovation. A case study of innovation teams and team leadership in a large, R&D intensive firm. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

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Abstract

Successful innovation is vital for firm survival and success (Dougherty, 2004). Leaders of established companies acknowledge that radical innovation, in particular, is critical to their growth and renewal (Leifer et al, 2000). This is especially true for the research and development sector (Eisenbeiß and Boerner, 2010). New product development, while not the only form of innovation, remains the most advanced, the most widely studied, and the most significant type of firm-level innovation (Garcia and Cantalone, 2002). Despite an increase in research on innovation, the identification of specific ways to improve firms’ innovation performance, specifically with regard to radical innovation, remains a significant challenge for researchers of innovation (Bessant et al., 2010). The context for this study is a revelatory case study of two competing R&D teams in a global, high-tech, research-intensive organisation. The teams had a mandate to develop radical innovations, though were characterised by differences in approach and leadership styles. A thematic analysis explores the processes through which each team generated, incubated and, ultimately, implemented new commercial ideas. Four themes emerge from the case study: structure, process, networks and leadership. The analysis suggests that variation in these four elements may explain the variation in the teams’ outcomes in terms of radical and incremental innovation. This study contributes to our understanding of how to organise for innovation, and specifically, how team leadership and networks relate to innovation outcomes. Specifically, it suggests that the three phases of the Innovation Value Chain (Hansen and Birkinshaw, 2007) have differential potency in their likelihood of delivering radical innovation; with a focus on the first phase more likely to produce radical innovation.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2012
Refereed:No
Supervisor(s):O'Gorman, Colm
Uncontrolled Keywords:research and development sector; leadership
Subjects:Business > Innovation
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > DCU Business School
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:16750
Deposited On:05 Apr 2012 11:58 by Rachel Keegan. Last Modified 10 Jan 2014 01:02

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