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Leadership, communication and innovation

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  • Bel, Roland
  • Smirnov, Vladimir
  • Wait, Andrew

Abstract

We study the interplay between communication, leadership attributes and the probability of successful innovation. Although a firm requires both strong leadership and sufficient communication to overcome inertia, we posit that frequent communication – particularly amongst strong managers and in larger firms – can cause leaders to pull the firm in different directions, resulting in disagreement and a failure to successfully innovate. Using a uniquely detailed establishment-level data set we find that, on their own, firm size, regular communication and result-oriented leadership are all positively associated with innovation. However, as predicted by our model, the use of frequent communication in successfully innovating firms is moderated: (i) when leaders tend to be strongly focussed on results; and (ii) in larger firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Bel, Roland & Smirnov, Vladimir & Wait, Andrew, 2015. "Leadership, communication and innovation," Working Papers 2015-22, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:syd:wpaper:2015-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Filippo Belloc, 2012. "Corporate Governance And Innovation: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 835-864, December.
    3. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
    4. Eve Caroli & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence from A Panel of British and French Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1449-1492.
    5. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
    6. Wouter Dessein & Tano Santos, 2006. "Adaptive Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 956-985, October.
    7. Michael L. Tushman & Ralph Katz, 1980. "External Communication and Project Performance: An Investigation into the Role of Gatekeepers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(11), pages 1071-1085, November.
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    Keywords

    Innovation; Communication; Leadership: Inertia;

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