JULIAN BIRKINSHAW GARY HAMEL London Business School MICHAEL J. MOL University of Reading
We define management innovation as the invention and implementation of a management practice, process, structure, or technique that is new to the state of the art and is intended to further organizational goals. Adopting an intraorganizational evolutionary perspective, we examine the roles of key change agents inside and outside the organization in driving and shaping four processes—motivation, invention, implementation, and theorization and labeling—that collectively define a model of how management innovation comes about.
Over the past half-century, scholars around the world have produced a vast body of academic research and writing on innovation. While most of this research has focused on various aspects of technological innovation (e.g., Henderson & Clark, 1990; Utterback, 1994), the trend over the last fifteen years has been toward exploring other forms of innovation, such as process innovation (e.g., Pisano, 1996), service innovation (e.g., Gallouj & Weinstein, 1997), and strategic innovation (Hamel, 1998; Markides, 1997), with a view to understanding how they are managed and how they contribute to long-term firm success. The focus in this article is on a relatively underresearched form of innovation—management innovation—and particularly the processes through which it occurs. We apply a relatively narrow definition of management innovation— specifically, the invention and implementation of a management practice, process, structure, or technique that is new to the state of the art and is intended to further organizational goals. While many of the landmarks of management innovation are familiar to every business scholar (e.g., GE’s development of the modern
We thank Jos Benders, Rick Delbridge, Hakan Ener, Martine Haas, Michael Jacobides, Robert Kaplan, Olav Sorenson, Yiorgos... [continues]
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