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A Swarm of Innovators: Information, Leadership and Innovation


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


We study the interplay between innovation, communication in an organization and leadership. Although a firm requires both strong leadership and sufficient communication in order to innovate, we posit that frequent communication - particularly amongst strong leaders and in larger firms - can lead to disagreement and innovation breakdown. Using a survey of 3000 French firms we find that, on their own, firm size, regular communication and result-oriented leadership are all positively associated with innovation. However, there is a negative relationship between successful innovation and: (i) frequent communication in larger firms; and (ii) frequent communication with result-oriented leadership.

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  • Bel, Roland & Smirnov, Vladimir & Wait, Andrew, 2011. "A Swarm of Innovators: Information, Leadership and Innovation," Working Papers 2011-11, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:syd:wpaper:2123/7871

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diego Rodriguez & Doug Solomon, 2007. "Leadership and Innovation in a Networked World," Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, MIT Press, vol. 2(3), pages 3-13, July.
    2. Abbie Griffin & John R. Hauser, 1992. "Patterns of Communication Among Marketing, Engineering and Manufacturing---A Comparison Between Two New Product Teams," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(3), pages 360-373, March.
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    innovation; communication; breakdown; leadership;
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