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Let us measure, then what?: Exploring purposeful use of innovation management self-assessments.
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Kvalitetsutveckling och praktikbaserad innovation)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6229-2673
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Kvalitetsutveckling och praktikbaserad innovation)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2597-8561
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1277-4877
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0012-7127
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2019 (English)In: International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, ISSN 0265-671X, E-ISSN 1758-6682, Vol. 36, no 10, p. 1734-1749Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase the understanding regarding how managers attempt to make purposeful use of innovation management self-assessments (IMSA) and performance information (PI).

Design/methodology/approach

An interpretative perspective on purposeful use is used as an analytical framework, and the paper is based on empirical material from two research projects exploring the use of IMSA and PI in three case companies. Based on the empirical data, consisting of interviews and observations of workshops and project meetings, qualitative content analysis has been conducted.

Findings

The findings of this paper indicate that how managers achieve a purposeful use of PI is related to their approach toward how to use the specific PI at hand, and two basic approaches are analytically separated: a rule-based approach and a reflective approach. Consequently, whether or not the right thing is being measured also becomes a question of how the PI is actually being interpreted and used. Thus, the extensive focus on what to measure and how to measure it becomes edgeless unless equal attention is given to how managers are able to use the PI to make knowledgeable decisions regarding what actions to take to achieve the desired changes.

Practical implications

Given the results, it comes with a managerial responsibility to make sure that all managers who are supposed to be engaged in using the PI are given roles in the self-assessments that are aligned with the level of knowledge they possess, or can access.

Originality/value

How managers purposefully use PI is a key to understand the potential impact of self-assessments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 36, no 10, p. 1734-1749
Keywords [en]
Competence, Self-assessment, Follow-up, Performance information, Interpretative perspective, Purposeful use
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-46313DOI: 10.1108/IJQRM-09-2018-0243Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85074296038OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-46313DiVA, id: diva2:1377955
Available from: 2019-12-13 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2019-12-17Bibliographically 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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Johansson, Peter E.Karlsson, HelenaBackström, TomasAndersson Schaeffer, JennieCedergren, Stefan

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