Links between Innovation, Change and Learning in Chinese Companies

Links between Innovation, Change and Learning in Chinese Companies

Wei Sun (Estonian Business School, Estonia) and Ruth Alas (Estonian Business School, Estonia)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-643-8.ch004
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This chapter is an attempt to explore the links between the types of innovation, the types of organizational change and levels of learning based on a study of 160 Chinese organizations. The authors provide the classification of innovation, organizational change and learning as the theoretical framework. On the basis of survey results, the authors find out there are close connections between the three aspects: innovation type, change type and learning type. There is a direct link between the types of innovation and learning in lower level. However, in the companies which experienced administrative innovation and ancillary innovation, the rate of occurrence of triple-loop learning is almost the same. Moreover, there is not necessarily corresponding relation between the types of innovation and change. Despite the fact that the highest level of innovation is accompanied by the deepest change, the lowest level of innovation may not be necessarily accompanied by the lower level change, i.e. the deepest scope of change may take place even if the lowest level of innovation happens in a Chinese organization.
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Literature Review

Innovation in Organization

The primary criterion for survival and growth of an individual or organization is fitness for future. Fitness for future is primary a function of the development of skills and capabilities related to improving performance and managing change. Innovation and creativity are the driving force behind change, adaptation and evolution. Human creativity is the source of the new possibilities and hope of dreams, action and accomplishment. It is also a source of uncertainty and insecurity.

A convenient definition of innovation from an organizational perspective is given by Luecke and Katz (2003), who wrote: Innovation is generally understood as the successful introduction of a new thing or method. Innovation is the embodiment, combination, or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services. Innovation typically involves creativity, but is not identical to it: innovation involves acting on the creative ideas to make some specific and tangible difference in the domain in which the innovation occurs (Amabile et al, 1996). For innovation to occur, something more than the generation of a creative idea or insight is required: the insight must be put into action to make a genuine difference, resulting for example in new or altered business processes within the organization, or changes in the products and services provided.

A further characterization of innovation is as an organizational or management process. For example, Davila et al (2006), write: Innovation, like many business functions, is a management process that requires specific tools, rules, and discipline. From this point of view, the emphasis is moved from the introduction of specific novel and useful ideas to the general organizational processes and procedures for generating, considering, and acting on such insights leading to significant organizational improvements in terms of improved or new business products, services, or internal processes.

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