How Process Management Impacts Innovation Performance

This article briefly summarizes the study “The Effects of Process Orientation on Exploitative and Explorative Innovation”, by D. Weitlaner and M. Kohlbacher, which will be presented at the 32nd Annual International Conference of the Strategic Management Society, which will take place in Prague, October 7-9, 2012. The presentation of the paper will take place in Track I, Session 239, on the 9th of October (see session details).

The study investigates how individual components of process orientation (i.e. continuous process improvement, corporate culture in line with the process approach, management commitment towards the process program, the process owner role, process performance measurement as well as process knowledge and documentation) affect explorative and exploitative innovation. Exploitative innovations (or incremental innovations) refer to small-scale improvements and adjustments of existing goods/services of a company. In contrast, explorative innovations represent entirely new goods/services which are not inferred from the existing supply of a company.

The empirical study involves 840 Austrian enterprises operating in the manufacturing or service industry. The empirical findings reveal that continuous process improvement and a culture that is in line with the process approach are significantly and positively associated with both types of innovation. The empirical evidence also shows that a narrow focus on detailed process documentation may actually be cumbersome to explorative innovation.

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