Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Culture

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Culture

The Interaction between Technology, Progress and Economic Growth

Edited by Terrence E. Brown and Jan Ulijn

Any technological advance, innovation or economic growth created by an organization is dependent on how that organization’s culture and environment fosters or inhibits these developments. This process is further complicated by the global nature of economic activity and differences in national cultures due to country-specific histories, experiences, traditions and rules. The distinguished authors in this important new book aim to study the nature of organizational innovation and change by examining the complex interplay between entrepreneurship, innovation and culture.

Chapter 10: Multi-path system emergence: an evolutionary framework to analyse process innovation

Takahiro Fujimoto

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, organisational innovation

Extract

Takahiro Fujimoto 1. INTRODUCTION: PROCESS INNOVATION AND EVOLUTION The main purpose of this short chapter is to propose an additional concept to analyse an evolutionary type of innovation – multi-path system emergence. It focuses on a long-term process innovation that creates a new and competitive manufacturing system, such as the Ford production system and the Toyota-style production system. Such a manufacturing system is often described and analysed as a coherent set of organizational routines (Nelson and Winter, 1982). Thus, one of the central questions to the issue of process innovations (that is, creation of new manufacturing systems) is whether a set of manufacturing routines are developed all at once by a deliberate plan of the innovating individual or organization. However, the history of manufacturing systems, and that in fabrication-assembly industries in particular, seems to indicate that such innovations tended to be a result of trial and error (Hounshell, 1984), or a complex interplay of plans and chances, visions and imperatives, creations and imitations (Fujimoto, 1999). Also, the creation of a coherent manufacturing system is often described as a long-term cumulative process rather than a one-time ‘big bang’ (Hounshell, 1984). If this is the nature of the process innovations in question, what kind of conceptual framework should we adopt for better understanding of such phenomena? Generally speaking, an artificial system, which looks as if it were deliberately designed as a rational one in terms of competitiveness or survival, may have been formed through a complex dynamic process which itself cannot be...

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