Do innovation measures actually measure innovation? Obliteration, symbolic adoption, and other finicky challenges in tracking innovation diffusion
Although innovation diffusion is a central topic in policy and strategy, its measurement remains difficult – particularly in cases where the innovation is a complex and possibly ambiguous practice. In this paper, we develop four theoretical mechanisms that may bias diffusion markers by leading to the understatement and/or overstatement of diffusion at different points in time. Employing the case of “green chemistry,” we then compare three different diffusion markers – keywords, database index terms, and domain expert assessments – and we demonstrate how they lead to differing conclusions about the magnitude and timing of diffusion, organizational demography, publication outlets, and collaboration. We also provide suggestive evidence of extensive “greenwashing” by particular organization types and in particular countries. Building on these findings, we point to potential challenges with existing diffusion studies, and we make a case for the incorporation of practitioners in construct measurement and for the integration of comparative metrics in diffusion studies.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jamasb, Tooraj & Pollitt, Michael G., 2011.
"Electricity sector liberalisation and innovation: An analysis of the UK's patenting activities,"
Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 309-324, March.
- Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M.G., 2009. "Electricity Sector Liberalisation and Innovation: An Analysis of the UK Patenting Activities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0902, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- Hélène Giroux, 2006. "'It Was Such a Handy Term': Management Fashions and Pragmatic Ambiguity," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(6), pages 1227-1260, 09.
- Nameroff, T. J. & Garant, R. J. & Albert, M. B., 2004. "Adoption of green chemistry: an analysis based on US patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6-7), pages 959-974, September.
- Beaudry, Catherine & Allaoui, Sedki, 2012. "Impact of public and private research funding on scientific production: The case of nanotechnology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1589-1606.
- Walsh, Vivien, 1984. "Invention and innovation in the chemical industry: Demand-pull or discovery-push?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 211-234, August.
- Garth Saloner & Andrea Shepard, 1995. "Adoption of Technologies with Network Effects: An Empirical Examination of the Adoption of Teller Machines," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 479-501, Autumn.
- Nelson, Andrew J., 2012. "Putting university research in context: Assessing alternative measures of production and diffusion at Stanford," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 678-691.
- Ryan Lampe, 2012. "Strategic Citation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 320-333, February.
- Hu, Albert G. Z. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2003. "Patent citations and international knowledge flow: the cases of Korea and Taiwan," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 849-880, June.
- Albert G.Z. Hu & Adam B. Jaffe, 2001. "Patent Citations and International Knowledge Flow: The Cases of Korea and Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 8528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Julia Lane, 2010. "Let’s make science metrics more scientific," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 137, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
- Hagedoorn, John & Cloodt, Myriam, 2003. "Measuring innovative performance: is there an advantage in using multiple indicators?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1365-1379, September.
- Lee, Jaegul & Veloso, Francisco M. & Hounshell, David A., 2011. "Linking induced technological change, and environmental regulation: Evidence from patenting in the U.S. auto industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1240-1252.
- Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-970, December.
- Alfred Kleinknecht & Kees Van Montfort & Erik Brouwer, 2002. "The Non-Trivial Choice between Innovation Indicators," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 109-121.
- Nelson, Andrew J., 2009. "Measuring knowledge spillovers: What patents, licenses and publications reveal about innovation diffusion," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 994-1005, July.
- Richard King & William T. Boehm & R. James Hildreth & Dale Dahl, 1979. "Foreword," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 61(4_Part_2).
- Freeman, Christopher & Soete, Luc, 2009. "Developing science, technology and innovation indicators: What we can learn from the past," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 583-589, May.
- Soete, Luc & Freeman, Chris, 2007. "Developing science, technology and innovation indicators: what we can learn from the past," MERIT Working Papers 001, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- Cockburn, Iain M & Henderson, Rebecca M, 1998. "Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 157-182, June.
- Mogoutov, Andrei & Kahane, Bernard, 2007. "Data search strategy for science and technology emergence: A scalable and evolutionary query for nanotechnology tracking," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 893-903, July.
- Achilladelis, Basil & Schwarzkopf, Albert & Cines, Martin, 1990. "The dynamics of technological innovation: The case of the chemical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-34, February.
- Geroski, P. A., 2000. "Models of technology diffusion," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 603-625, April.
- Geroski, Paul A, 1999. "Models of Technology Diffusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 2146, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Herman Aguinis & Jeffrey R. Edwards, 2014. "Methodological Wishes for the Next Decade and How to Make Wishes Come True," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 143-174, 01.
- Arora, Ashish, 1997. "Patents, licensing, and market structure in the chemical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 391-403, December.
- Ashish Arora, 1996. "Patents, Licensing, And Market Structure In The Chemical Industry," Industrial Organization 9605003, EconWPA.
- Wu, Ching-Yan & Mathews, John A., 2012. "Knowledge flows in the solar photovoltaic industry: Insights from patenting by Taiwan, Korea, and China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 524-540.
- Aaron K. Chatterji & David I. Levine & Michael W. Toffel, 2009. "How Well Do Social Ratings Actually Measure Corporate Social Responsibility?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 125-169, 03.
- Mina, A. & Ramlogan, R. & Tampubolon, G. & Metcalfe, J.S., 2007. "Mapping evolutionary trajectories: Applications to the growth and transformation of medical knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 789-806, June.
- Kevin B. Hendricks & Vinod R. Singhal, 1997. "Does Implementing an Effective TQM Program Actually Improve Operating Performance? Empirical Evidence from Firms That Have Won Quality Awards," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(9), pages 1258-1274, September.
- Gay, Brigitte & Dousset, Bernard, 2005. "Innovation and network structural dynamics: Study of the alliance network of a major sector of the biotechnology industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1457-1475, December.
- Stoneman, Paul & Diederen, Paul, 1994. "Technology Diffusion and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 918-930, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)