Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
This thesis looks at the field of challenges in innovation management and decision making in order to increase the understanding of how innovation managers balance the contradictory elements of structure and creativity in innovation processes. Thereby, the focus lies on innovation managers on the operational level having to deal with the elements of structure and creativity in the innovation process and the influence the organizations’ structure has on this.
The thesis begins with an illustration of the importance of innovations for organizations and provides a clear definition of innovations as a process. An examination on innovation processes shows the need for numerous decisions to be made as innovations constitute a challenge for managers. Therefore, this thesis highlights one challenge and explores literature on two important and contradictory elements in innovation processes: creativity and structure. The role of structure in this context is two-sided. One the one hand, structure is an important element of innovation processes. On the other hand, structure can influence the decision making of innovation managers when balancing the contradictory elements. In order to understand the influence on decision making, the study concentrates on the decision types of programmed and non-programmed decisions, which are also utilized to evaluate how innovation managers are influenced by the structure in an organization.
The study is of qualitative nature and has a mainly inductive approach. Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to gain insights of innovation managers in charge of innovation processes. Decision types and actions on creativity, which are part of the theoretical framework, were utilized in order to analyze the selected material. This analysis, showing similarities to a thematic analysis, allowed to interpret the material in order to conclude and answer the research question.
The results showed that, on an operational level, there is not a contradictory linkage between structure and creativity as highlighted in the literature. Rather, the structural procedures of reporting systems and plans serve as a support for innovation managers by being subject to programmed decisions. By this, innovation managers do not have to spend time on making decisions regarding the structure, but can rather focus on actions which aim to enhance creativity. Therefore, our findings showed that structure serves as a lever for creativity in innovation processes.
2015. , 74 p.