Organizational Routines
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Organizational Routines

Advancing Empirical Research

Edited by Markus C. Becker and Nathalie Lazaric

This book showcases advanced empirical research that applies the concept of organizational routines to understanding organizations and how they change and evolve.
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Chapter 10: Innovation Routines: Exploring the Role of Procedures and Stable Behaviour Patterns in Innovation

Markus C. Becker and Francesco Zirpoli


Markus C. Becker and Francesco Zirpoli 1. INTRODUCTION The capability to innovate, that is, to develop successful new products or processes, is important and highly treasured. One of its hallmarks, judging from the literature, is that the capability to innovate fluctuates considerably over the life time of a firm. Often, small firms are successful in developing new products particularly of the more radically innovative sort, while large firms seem to turn out new products that often represent mainly incremental innovations. Yet some companies have a track record of repeated radical innovation. Apple Computers is a famous example. In its long stream of successful new products, it counts the first personal computer, and recently, the iPod. Another example, just down the road in Silicon Valley, is IDEO, the design firm. It has generated innovations such as, for instance, the computer mouse. Both firms have a reputation for repeatedly developing successful new products, including a series of radical innovations. Apple has managed to bounce back successfully from phases of moderate success, most recently with the introduction of the iPod. IDEO has turned out a great number of new products with such continuity that it has been termed an ‘innovation factory’ (Hargadon and Sutton, 1997, 2000). The question raised by such examples is how some companies are able to generate innovations repeatedly, even including several radical innovations. In looking for an explanation of innovation outcomes, we are turning towards endogenous, rather than exogenous factors. Previous research has identified a series of factors...

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