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The Importance of Taking a Process Perspective on the Use and Application of an Innovation Management Self-Assessment Audit
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Human Organizing in Entreprenuership, Innovation and Quality Management)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2597-8561
(English)In: Journal of Innovation Management, E-ISSN 2183-0606Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

Prior research on innovation management self-assessment audits (IMSA) has a strong focus on the assessment situation, primarily on what to assess. However, several additional tasks are necessary to make purposeful use of an IMSA. This study analyzes the undertaking of an IMSA from a process perspective to better understand IMSA’s utilization by looking at how people participate in the process and how the process is integrated in an organizational context. This study adopted an interactive research approach and collected data over a period of 27 months in 45 interviews, six workshops, and 10 meetings with 42 different participants from three companies. Results show a fragmented participation, and that the process was only partly integrated into the organizational context, making it arbitrarily dependent on individual actors. This demonstrates the need to understand challenges related to IMSA use to enable a process that is integrated in the structures intended to be improved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helena Blackbright.
Keywords [en]
Assessment Process, Innovation Assessment, Innovation Audit, IMSA, IMSA-process, Process, Complexity, Discontinuity, Innovation, Innovation Management, Internal Assessor, Assessor
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-46314OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-46314DiVA, id: diva2:1377956
Available from: 2019-12-13 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2020-03-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exploring Purposeful use of Innovation Self-assessments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Purposeful use of Innovation Self-assessments
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Innovation management is a multidimensional practice characterized by the requirement of a constant renewal to maintain an organization’s relative innovativeness. A practice highly characterized by a requirement to handle uncertainty, risk, and long lead times, which requires an active management of both the prerequisites of today and a yet-undefined future. Therefore, it is of little surprise that the so-called “innovation audits,” with their purpose of direct or indirect improvement are often considered a vital part of innovation management practices. This thesis focuses on the internal self-assessment use of such audits by organizations to self-assess their current state of innovativeness against indicators of good practice or their own prior state. The purpose of such innovation audits is to reveal gaps between the current and desired state, which the organization can use to develop improvement activities.

Substantial empirical and theoretical research on innovation audits exists, which focuses primarily on the development of the audit itself, but seldom on enacting audits that lead to desired improvements. Much innovation audit research discusses the areas to assess and the development of different types of indicators, statements, and framework, which represents these assessment areas. The problem is that no matter how well the indicators identify possible improvement areas or gaps between current and desired states, it still says very little about integrating retrieved information into activities that actually lead to the desired improvements.

This thesis takes a process perspective on the undertaking of an innovation self-assessment audit (ISA). Rather than examining what to assess and how to use the result, it focuses on the undertaking of an ISA as an improvement process in itself. The overall objective is to contribute to the understanding of why a purposeful use of ISA emerges (or does not emerge). To this end, this thesis collects empirical data about ISA use and its context from qualitative case studies, involving 14 self-assessment groups from 9 different organizations. The findings from these studies is presented in the six appended papers that address different perspectives on ISA use and contextual prerequisites.

To better understand why a purposeful use of ISA emerges (or does not), it was necessary to bring the appended papers together and undertake a more focused discussion on ISA use as a process in its entirety. Therefore, this thesis recontextualizes the six appended papers against a new theoretical framework based on theories on processes, complex adaptive systems (CAS), and competence-in-use.

The theoretical discussion in this thesis offers several contributions. First, by approaching the undertaking of ISA as an improvement process, it focuses on the continuity of the process, which in turn allows a distinction between the execution of the process and the enabling of this execution. Second, the enactment of purposeful use is related to knowledge about the focus area of the assessment (e.g. innovation culture or capabilities) and the current state being assessed. Together, these create the basis for the theorization of a four-dimensional ISA competence-in-use that impacts how ISA can be purposefully enacted. Overall, the main reason why purposeful use emerges (or does not) does not seem to be so much about having a high ISA competence-in-use, as having high correspondence between expectations and competence-in-use.

Together, this contributes to an increased understanding of why purposeful use emerges (or does not), making this its primary contribution within the field of innovation management. The focus on self-assessment use as an improvement process embedded in the organizational context it intends to improve, does give a more general relevance to the discussion on improvement processes, and the use of self-assessment audits outside the field of innovation management.

The contribution of this thesis is closely related to the use of ISA and can be used to support the process of planning and undertaking an ISA. This thesis also contributes to knowledge on ISA competence-in-use, which can guide practical choices in undertaking an ISA for more purposeful use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University, 2020
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 305
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-46325 (URN)978-91-7485-454-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-02-13, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-12-17 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2020-01-13Bibliographically approved

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