Towards an innovation culture : what are it's national, corporate, marketing and engineering aspects, some experimental evidence

J.M. Ulijn, M.C.D.P. Weggeman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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This chapter addresses the issue of innovation culture (IC) and proposes and try to answer 5 research questions related to the possible impact of different elements, such as national, corporate and professional (engineering vs marketing) cultures (NC, CC, and PC), their intersection and integration on the basis of a case study of an innovation in Dutch SME for which the 42 Dutch and Indonesian marketeers and engineers involved give their opinions. One additional research question dealt with how to create the right organizational climate for such innovation based upon evidence from 351 scientists at a Dutch university. This was done of the basis of a literature survey which rated the role of NC from 30-50% (claimed by Dunphy and Herbig, 1994) to a predominant one (evidenced by a comprehensive study by Shane, 1997). Moreover, this literature is heavily influenced by the classic work of Hofstede which provides a setting for CC as well, basically based upon a low power and a low uncertainty avoidance as optimal conditions for innovation in Western countries, with the clan and the guided missile as possible labels of their CC's. Apart from the technology push/ market pull discussion, the literature is a little tacit about the possible impact of PC on the innovation performance of a firm. In knowledge and technology intensive organizations (KTIO's), including universities innovation management would also relate to knowledge management: how to cross interfunctional and interdisciplinary borders? The innovative success of the American 3M and a Dutch television program for children Klokhuis will be given as an illustration how to champion IC. To account properly with the state of the art of culture research in enterprises, the questionnaire we used to assess innovation culture comprised not only all dimensions of Hofstede, but also an additional one combining engineering and marketing aspects related to innovation. The construct of IC appeared not be valid and reliable enough yet, but the other findings give enough support to the idea that in a Dutch-Indonesian context, a Western and an Oriental culture can properly work together, there is enough common ground which would locate the design aspect of an innovation in the clan with market involvement and production in a guided missile. Latin values could support the individual creativity as the first step to innovation and Oriental values a team or an cooperation culture to make the innovation ready for the market. We may conclude that the fountain (Neuijen, 1992), funnel (Wheelwright and Clark, 1992) and iceberg (Selfridge and Sokolik, 1975) are appropriate metaphors to characterize the ideal innovation management process from the fountain of individual ideas into the funnel of interfunctional and intercultural cooperation, where Western values support the top of the iceberg focussing on the product itself and the Oriental values in the bottom of the iceberg strengthen the networking and cooperation process needed for this towards a successful introduction in the market. Finally some research topics are suggested to back up empirically the numerous do's and don'ts of championing an innovation culture, so far mostly based upon anecdotal and consultancy experience and sometimes on an introspection study of an innovator himself (Nicholson, 1998), which are valuable sources on themselves. The empirical studies we summarized are just a first step of the exploration of the matter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of organizational culture and climate
EditorsC.L. Cooper, S. Cartwright, P.C. Earley
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages600
ISBN (Print)978-0471491262
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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