Involvement of a large number of participants appears to be linked with innovation effectiveness by virtue of providing a collective definition of behaviors, systems and meanings in a way that calls for individual conformity. Typically, this involvement is gained through integration around a small number of key values. This characteristic is popularly recognized as a strong culture. Involvement and participation create a sense of ownership and responsibility. Out of this ownership grows a greater commitment to the organization and a growing capacity to operate under conditions of ambiguity.
Consistency has both positive and negative organizational consequences. The positive influence of consistency is that it provides integration and coordination. The negative aspect is that highly consistent cultures are often the most resistent to change, adpatation and hence, innovation. The concept of consistency allows up to explain the existence of sub-cultures within an organization. Sources of integration range from a limited set of rules about when and how to agree and disagree, all the way to a unitary culture with high conformity and little or no dissent.
Effective and innovative organizations must develop norms and beliefs that support their capacity to receive and interpret signals from their environment and translate them into cognitive, behavioral and structural changes. When consistency becomes detached from the external environment, firms will often develop into insular bureaucracies and are unlikely to be innovative and adaptive.
4. Sense of Mission or Long-term Vision
This contrasts with the adaptability notion. It emphasises the stability of an organization’s central purpose and de-emphasises its capacity for situational adaptability and change. A mission provides two major influences on the organization’s functioning. First, a mission provides purpose and meaning and a host of non-economic reasons why the organization’s work is important. Second a sense of mission defines the appropriate course of action for the organization an dits members. Both of these factors reflect and amplify the key values of the organization.
For innovativeness and effectiveness, organizations need to reconcile all four of these traits. The four traits together serve to acknowledge two contrasts: the contrast between internal integration and external adaptation and the contrast between change and stability. Invovement and consistency have as their focus the dynamics of internal integration, while mission and adaptability address the dynamics of external adaptation.
In addition, involvement and adaptability describe traits related to an organization’s capacity to change, while the consistency and mission are more likely to contribute to the organization’s capacity to remain stable and predictable over time.
Source: Culture and Climate for Innovation by Pervaiz K. Ahmed in the European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol.1 No.1