Better together: The Role of Leadership on Radical Innovation Implementation

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Innovation implementation is the process in between the decision to adopt an innovation until its full routinization in the organization. Based on literature gaps found on the correlation between leadership and innovation implementation, but also between leadership and radical innovation (Denti & Hemlin, 2012), the authors aim to understand “How does leadership play a role in radical innovation implementation?”. The study followed a qualitative multiple case study, with comparative design, on which one of the cases was successful, and the other failed on being implemented. The research followed an abductive stance, and analysis was conducted following the recommendations of Eisenhardt and Graebner (2007) and Gioia, Corley and Hamilton (2013). Literature was reviewed in the fields on innovation implementation, radical innovation and organizational leadership, with special focus on leadership for innovation. Innovation generation and innovation adoption concepts were reviewed in order to understand the empirical setting of the study. Concluding, research on leadership and innovation implementation must consider the interplay of both as more dynamic and symbiotic. Two leadership levels – team and unit – revealed four major roles for radical innovation implementation. Influencer and Champion, in the field of leadership as content, symbolize the need for a strong source of motivation and drive on implementation. While, Enabling and Ambidextrous leadership as process point out to collaboration and balancing the two units to overcome resistance, ultimately achieving integration.

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