Although most research appears to agree that innovation is influenced by social processes, research in this area thus far has taken a back seat to research on individual differences and antecedents. Generally it can be said that innovation is enhanced by organic structures rather than mechanistic structures. Innovation is increased by the use of highly participative structures and cultures. For instance, an idea champion must be made to feel part of the total innovation process; at the very least, he/she must be allowed to follow the progress of the innovation. This builds involvement via ownership and enhances attachment and commitment at the organizational level. There is also a string case here to let the individual lead the project in a total sense from beginning to end.


Organic structures promote innovation :
— Freedom from rules
— Participative and informal
— Many views aired and considered
— Face-to-face communication – little red-tape
— Inter-disciplinary teams – breaking down departmental barriers
— Emphasis on creative interaction and aims
— Outward looking – willingness to take on external ideas
— Flexibility with respect to changing needs
— Non-hierarchical
— Information flow downwards as well as upwards
  Mechanistic structures hinder innovation
— Rigid departmental separation and functional specialization
— Hierarchical
— Bureaucratic
— Many rules and set procedures
— Formal reporting
— long decision chains and thus, slow decision making
— Little individual freedom of action
— Communication only via written word
— Much information flow upwards and directives flow downwards

Source: “Culture and climate for innovation” by Pervaiz K. Ahmed, European Journal of Innovation Management


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