Creating Wealth from Knowledge
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Creating Wealth from Knowledge

Meeting the Innovation Challenge

Edited by John Bessant and Tim Venables

This book illustrates that, although innovation has always mattered in economic development, simply increasing expenditure in creating knowledge may not be the answer: we need to look at the whole system through which such knowledge translates to value creation.
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Chapter 11: Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Innovation

Sue Morton and Neil Burns


Sue Morton and Neil Burns The importance of innovation to the continued success of organizations has been covered extensively in earlier chapters. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a review of the literature surrounding resistance to innovation within organizations, to look at the potential influence of organizational culture and climate, and to identify possible areas of interest where intervention may help overcome organizational barriers to innovation and foster productivity improvement. It will also focus on what elements of the innovation process can be measured and review some of the instruments that are currently available for the task. If we are to understand and overcome resistance to innovation, we need to make explicit the various forms in which it is manifest. The literature on innovation, including its causes and consequences, has developed over the last half-century and extends across many academic fields. Recent decades have seen the creation of new journals and associations, an ever-increasing number of publications and the emergence of numerous cross-discipline research centres, all with a focus on innovation. While it would not be possible to summarize within this chapter all that has been written about innovation, the introduction to this book and Fagerberg’s (2005) overview provide a useful guide to the literature. Elsewhere in this book Ferriani et al. (Chapter 8) include a helpful section characterizing incremental (continuous) and breakthrough (discontinuous) innovation, together with a tabular review of technological innovation types to further clarify the distinction between extant terminologies. For the purposes of the...

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