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Innovation and Organizational Change: Developments Towards an Interactive Process Perspective

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Since the 1980s researchers have gradually revised the assumptions and research methods guiding their investigation of innovation. The ascendancy of processual perspectives, and more recently interactive process perspectives, in place of normative-variance perspectives, represents a shift in opinion. Scholars now contend that innovation is best understood as a dynamic, ongoing process during which actions and institutional structures are inextricably linked. Scholars adopting an interactive process perspective have however, largely ignored how innovation influences the reproduction of organizations, in part, because the interactive process model is underdeveloped. This paper traces the demise and growth of different approaches in the study of innovation and develops an argument for why structuration theory would enable a significant advancement in the formation of an interactive process perspective. In doing so, a model of innovation as structuration process is developed illustrating how innovation can change the conditions governing the reproduction of an organizational repertoire. The modification of an organizational repertoire reflects the constraining and enabling aspects of the structural arrangements (stocks of knowledge, resources, interests) that simultaneously mediate and yet are an outcome of the actions of individuals involved in the innovation pose. This perspective is used to model the implementation of new products and processes in Alpha, a medium-sized enterprise involved in a Teaching Company Scheme Programme.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF1 3EU, UK.

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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