A Multidisciplinary Review of the Study of Innovation Systems
Edited by Steven Casper and Frans van Waarden
Chapter 4: Organizations and innovation: contributions from organnizational sociology and administrative science
4. Organizations and innovation: contributions from organizational sociology and administrative science Jerald Hage 1 THE DEFINITION OF ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATION AND STYLES OF RESEARCH Organizational innovation has been consistently defined as the adoption of an idea or behaviour that is new to the organization (Damanpour 1988, 1991; Daft and Becker 1978; Hage 1980; Hage and Aiken 1970; Zaltman et al. 1973; Zammuto and O’Connor 1992). The innovation can either be a new product, service, technology, administrative practice or research finding. The literature usually focuses on rates of innovation and not single innovations except in the instance of diffusion studies (for example Collins et al. 1987; Ettlie et al. 1984; Walton 1987) where the speed of adoption is the analytical focus. The importance of studies of innovation rates rather than a case study of a single innovation must be stressed. In his meta-analysis, Damanpour (1991) found that the greater the number of innovations considered in the research study, the more consistent the findings. Although the definition has remained consistent, the specific kinds of innovation examined have shifted across time as have the kinds of problems that have interested people. In the sixties and seventies the emphasis was on incremental change in public sector organizations (Allen and Cohen 1969; Daft and Becker 1978; Hage and Aiken 1967; Kaluzny et al. 1972; Moch 1976) while in the eighties and nineties it has been on radical change in private sector organizations (Collins et al. 1987; Cohn and Turyn 1980; Ettlie et al. 1984; Gerwin 1988;...
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