Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder
Chapter 14: Managing diversity for creativity and innovation in a complex world
The transition from the industrial to the knowledge economy is driven by globalisation, technological progress, deregulation and democratization (Halal and Taylor, 1999). For managers of business organisations, this new landscape opens a myriad of possibilities but at the same time it also presents new threats. Acceleration of knowledge production, global sourcing of knowledge creation, increasingly active consumers and the explosion of social networks, among other factors, create a context in which discontinuities are very likely and managers struggle to make sense of the rapidly changing world. As recently witnessed by emblematic organisations such as Sharp, Kodak, MSN or, more recently, Nokia and Blackberry, competitive advantage is difficult to sustain and past technological or market leadership is no guarantee of future success. In this context, innovation is by far the most important of organizational competencies. In the same line, creativity, antecedent to innovation, is increasingly recognised as critical for organisational performance. Costly and difficult to manage, these processes are characterised by causal ambiguity and high uncertainty as to their outcomes (Fonseca, 2002).
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