Technology Management in a Mature Firm: Structuration Theory and the Innovation Process

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Most innovation studies focus on the activities or characteristics of individuals (agency) or on organizational attributes such as size and formalization (structure). In attempting to reconcile this agency-structure dichotomy we draw on structuration theory to examine the innovation process in detail. Structural properties (signification, domination and legitimation) are constantly reproduced from social interaction (communication, power and sanctions) by means of the modalities (interpretative schemes, facilities and norms) drawn on by knowledgeable, reflexive actors. This framework is utilized to examine the case of a mature manufacturing company in which managers and engineers were attempting to access new technologies. The data were acquired by means of a 6-year, on-going study which began in 1992 and which we suggest is essential for a thorough understanding of the innovation process.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2000

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