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Ways forward: Effectual and causal approaches to innovation in the Swedish magazine industry
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5836-577X
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation builds on a study of key decision makers in the Swedish magazine publishing industry with a particular focus on how they think and act in their work to innovate their industry. This industry, much like the rest of the media industry, is facing increased unpredictability regarding for example the impact of new technology on the business and future demand. Traditional planning (causal) approaches can be greatly questioned in times of uncertainty, when the task at hand include creating products and services that do not yet exist.

In this study I examine an alternative logic forward which takes its starting point in the interests, experiences, knowledge and networks of decision makers – instead of given goals. This logic is known as an effectual logic, and offers an alternative approach to move forward with innovation work. I argue, that the effectual logic can enable organizations to capitalize better from people’s experiences, networks and “gut-feeling” and create the innovations we now know nothing about. The effectual process involves developing ideas that coevolve together with others who want to commit, in a spirit that welcomes surprise, flexibility and experimentation. In this process products and services are created which could not have been predicted and planned – innovations. This logic of entrepreneurial action stems from research on expert entrepreneurs, however limited research has been done on its use and relevance in an established firm context. In this dissertation I examine this in the setting of magazine publishing firms to better understand the underlying mechanisms of effectuation in the firm setting, and its consequences for learning, innovation and performance. Alongside the effectual logic, I examine the traditional, causal logic dominating management education and practice.

Effectuation is generally used among the decision makers in the study, inparticular among the most senior managers. Effectuation is positively linked to innovation, in particular radical innovation, and a combination of both logics is positively linked to innovation in general. Combining causal and effectual logics also gives rise to more knowledge useful for future innovation projects. One challenge for organizations is how to transfer this logic from the most senior managers to the whole organization, and thus make the most of the experiences and networks of their members.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School , 2014. , 224 p.
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 98
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-23949ISBN: 978-91-86345-53-2OAI: diva2:720732
Public defence
2014-06-27, B1014, Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-06-02 Created: 2014-06-02 Last updated: 2016-06-23Bibliographically approved

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