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Leveraging Resistance to Change and the Skunk Works Model of Innovation

Author

Listed:
  • Andrea Fosfuri

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Thomas Rønde

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We study a situation in which an R&D department promotes the introduction of an innovation that results in costly re-adjustments for a production department. In response, the production department tries to resist change by improving the existing technology. We show that firms balancing the strengths of the two departments perform better. As a negative effect, resistance to change might distort the R&D department’s effort away from radical innovations. The firm can solve this problem by implementing the so-called skunk works model of innovation where the R&D department is isolated from the rest of the organization. Several implications for managing resistance to change and for the optimal design of R&D activities are derived.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Fosfuri & Thomas Rønde, 2005. "Leveraging Resistance to Change and the Skunk Works Model of Innovation," CIE Discussion Papers 2007-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics, revised Jun 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:2007-10
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/cie/dp/dp_2010/2007-10.pdf/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Roberto Burguet & Yeon-Koo Che, 2004. "Competitive Procurement with Corruption," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 50-68.
    2. Meyer, Margaret & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1992. "Organizational Prospects, Influence Costs, and Ownership Changes," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 9-35, Spring.
    3. Juan-José Ganuza & Esther Hauk, 2006. "Allocating Ideas: Horizontal Competition in Tournaments," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 763-787, September.
    4. Bruno Cassiman & Masako Ueda, 2006. "Optimal Project Rejection and New Firm Start-ups," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 262-275.
    5. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2003. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 646-671, June.
    6. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "Digging for Golden Carrots: An Analysis of Research Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 872-890, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    resistance to change; innovation; skunk works model; contest;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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