Culture as a Driver of Innovation Performance : A case study at the ASSA ABLOY Group

University essay from KTH/Maskinkonstruktion (Inst.); KTH/Maskinkonstruktion (Inst.)

Abstract:

Innovation has become increasingly important for organizations to sustain their competitive

advantage. Among the factors frequently put forward as drivers of innovation are for instance

innovation strategies, -processes, -tools, and –methods. Alongside these traditional managerial

means, there is also explicit focus on innovation climate and –culture. Organizational culture

has been proposed as a key factor in explaining innovation in firms, in particular in the light

of high-performing and innovative firms such as Google and Apple. There is growing

evidence implying that cultures supporting new-product development processes can foster

innovative behaviors (Jassawalla and Sashittal, 2002). This supportive organizational culture

can be defined as an

innovation culture. Nevertheless, despite its apparent importance there is

limited research investigating the relationship between innovation performance and

organizational culture (McLean, 2005). This study aims to describe an innovation culture and

the potential inter-relations there are between innovation culture and innovation performance.

The study based on an extensive literature study within the area of organizational culture from

where an analytical framework was developed including the following cultural factors, which

are proclaimed to stimulate innovation;

challenging work, collaboration, competition,

empowerment, encourage change, freedom, innovation support, open communication,

organizational encouragement

and risk-taking. Moreover, a framework for measuring

innovation performance was developed where the innovation performance was divided into

four dimensions in the innovation process; Ideation, Ideation Output, Implementation and

Output. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting data in terms

of 38 interviews and 510 useful survey answers from 13 organizations. Results from the

interviews were summarized and analyzed within-case and cross-case, while the survey

results were analyzed with a regression analysis for uncovering potential relations between

the cultural factors and innovation performance.

Main findings from the study are the outcome from the regression analysis confirming five of

the ten cultural factors to be significant for innovation performance;

competition, encourage

change

, innovation support, organizational encouragement and risk-taking. Further the study

confirms a few specific factors of the innovation culture that have higher impact on the

innovation performance in specific dimensions than others. By clarifying inter-relationships

between innovation performance in specific dimensions and different aspects of innovation

culture, an identification of a deficient innovation performance dimension opens up for

changes in the innovation culture, enabling to deploy supportive processes, procedures and

roles to reach concrete output.

Keywords: organizational culture, innovation culture, innovation performance

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