Formalization and innovation: An ethnographic study of process formalization
It has become increasingly clear that business and industrial competitiveness is no longer be achieved and sustained through the traditional focus on cost, quality, and service alone. This realization has generated an intense interest in the role of innovation in achieving and sustaining organizational competitiveness. Innovation is a complex, intensely social phenomenon involving multiple stages and preconditions that are not easily duplicated. Yet the trend to formalize innovation activities is growing, promoting an "innovation on demand" (Fahden 1993) mentality. This study focused on the Advanced Business Development (ABD) group of a U.S.-based Tier One automotive supplier, Auto-Tech. ABD is a formal group which was tasked with building Auto-Tech's innovative capacity, defined as their ability to generate, manage and execute new ideas through a variety of initiatives involving employees, customers, suppliers, and institutions. Two broad research questions directed the investigation: (1) how does the process of innovation change as an organization moves to formalize innovation activities? (2) What is the relationship between formalization and the ability of an organization to innovate? Findings suggest that formalization is both a top-down and bottom-up phenomenon. Understanding the characteristics of both types of formalization and the conditions under which each is enacted has implications for innovation processes, particularly when both types of formalization are active but unrecognized.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Miller, Christine Z|
Wayne State University
|Type of publication:||Other|
ETD Collection for Wayne State University
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