Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation

Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Gry A. Alsos, Ulla Hytti and Elisabet Ljunggren

Innovation is seen as one of the main engines of economic growth creating prosperous nations and enabling technological development within industries and sectors This Handbook contributes to the field of innovation by providing a wide range of studies from different analytical and methodological perspectives and from various regional and industry contexts in order to pave the way forward. The multidisciplinary contributors discuss topics such as gender and innovation in new and small businesses, and growth businesses; addressing innovation in different organizational contexts ranging from public sector health care to mining and forestry; researching gender in innovation policy.

Chapter 1: Gender and innovation – an introduction

Gry Agnete Alsos, Ulla Hytti and Elisabet Ljunggren

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


Innovation has become a buzzword in policy and industry as well as scientific discourses, seen as an important element in economic development, and for solving global challenges such as financial crisis, environmental strain, diseases and poverty. Innovation is put forward as a main factor to enhance economic growth in industries, regions and nations (Lundvall, 1992; Malecki, 2002; Malerba, 2002; Verspagen, 2005), and is also suggested to be important at the firm level to recreate and maintain competitive advantage over time. The early scholarly work on innovation includes the influential analysis of Schumpeter (1934), who looked at major innovations as driving economic development. Building on his work, innovation is still often defined as new combinations of production factors in the form of production of new goods or services, introduction of new production processes, the opening of new markets to new sources of raw materials and intermediates, and re-organization of an industry. Contemporary research on innovation is broad in scope and perspectives, including innovation processes within firms, as well as in local, regional or national innovation systems of firms, institutions and governmental bodies (Fagerberg, 2005). Recently, there has been a growing interest in social innovations and innovations taking place in the public sector. The gender issues of innovation are seldom discussed. One main reason for this deficit is that innovation research seems to lack analyses of where innovation takes place and, particularly, of who participates in innovation (Fagerberg et al., 2005).