Obstacles to innovation – a survey

[German title: Innovationshindernisse – eine Umfrage]

Title: The lure of simplicity: learning perspectives on innovation 
Author(s): Thomas Kalling 
Journal: European Journal of Innovation Management 
ISSN: 1460-1060 
Year: 2007 Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Page: 65 – 89 
DOI: 10.1108/14601060710720555 
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss obstacles to innovation, by using organisational learning and knowledge management theory. The logic behind this purpose is that understanding obstacles enhances our understanding of what may drive innovation.
Design/methodology/approach – While organisational learning and knowledge management tend to focus on cognitive factors this paper focuses on contextual factors such as organisational structure and institutional factors. The method applied follows the case study approach, where a theoretic frame of reference is studied in a one case setting and findings are generalised by means of so-called analytical generalisation. A total of 86 managers and employees were interviewed in one large multinational corporation within the paper packaging sector, to unveil their experience from specific attempts at being innovative and from the general climate of innovation within the company.
Findings – The empirical findings support that understanding the significance of the organisational context, particularly the structure and control of the line organisation, the interface between the line and the R&D organisation, the availability of slack resources, and the presence of an effective capital application procedure, is important. They also suggest that institutional forces at the market, corporation and individual level are interdependent and impact the propensity to innovate. Findings indicate that understanding innovation requires understanding the roles of institutional forces and organisational context – not just cognitive explanations.
Originality/value – In that respect, the originality of the paper lies in its addressing these factors not just as prerequisites to cognitive issues but as parallel explanatory factors behind innovation. 

Keywords: Innovation, Knowledge management, Learning organizations 

Article Type: Case study 

Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/14601060710720555

© Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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