Marketing managers increasingly face a product innovation dilemma. Managers will have to sell more with fewer new products in an environment where new products are providing lower revenue yields. Therefore, understanding what drives successful innovation is of paramount importance. This paper examines the organizational innovation hypothesis that innovation is a function of individual efforts and organizational systems to facilitate creativity. Our model formulates creativity as a property of thought process that can be acquired and improved through instruction and practice. In this context, individual creativity mechanisms refer to activities undertaken by individual employees within an organization to enhance their capability for developing something, which is meaningful and novel within their work environment. Organizational creativity mechanisms refer to the extent to which the organization has instituted formal approaches and tools, and provided resources to encourage meaningfully novel behaviors within the organization. Using data collected from 634 organizations, we find support for this hypothesis. The results suggest that the presence of both individual and organizational creativity mechanisms led to the highest level of innovation performance. The results also suggest that high levels of organizational creativity mechanisms (even in the presence of low levels of individual creativity) led to significantly superior innovation performance than low levels of organizational and individual creativity mechanisms. The paper also presents managerial and academic implications. This study suggests that it is not enough for organizations to hire creative people and expect the innovation performance of the firm to be superior. Similarly, it is not enough for firms to emphasize management practices to enhance creativity and ignore individual mechanisms. Although it is true that doing either will improve innovation performance, doing both should lead to higher innovation levels. Our understanding of what and how creativity influences innovation performance can be greatly enhanced by additional research that integrates the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of creativity. Research that examines the role of team creativity efforts in enhancing innovation performance is also vital to an overall improved understanding of creativity, learning, and innovation within organizations.
The Journal of Product Innovation Management – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 2000
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