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Innovation and the Role of Habits: A Conceptual Analysis


  • Donatella Cavagnoli

    () (School of Economics, La Trobe University)


In this paper I explore the concept of innovation. The aim is to bring to the fore the importance of learned habits on the motivation to innovate. Innovation is a learning process which results in a new product, a new process, a new movement, a new organisation or a new source of raw materials. It arises out of scientific activity (e.g. Research and Development), individual invention (e.g. garage or computer inventor), group strategy (e.g. future search meetings) or exploration of new environments (e.g. mineral exploration). However, innovation requires the input of innovative individuals within any of the above contexts. Individuals learn within a frame of reference created by their education and by their social and organisational systems of rewards. This frame reflects how habits of thought and of behaviour are passed on and perpetuated, and how information, skills and the motivation to innovate evolve. Habits however, embody a double-edged outcome. Habits can lead to innovation, habits can also hinder innovation. This paper identifies this double-edged outcome and examines the gap in the innovation literature on the importance of fostering the individuals psychological motivation (or habit) to innovate. It seeks to provide a theoretical framework that enables a link to be drawn between management innovation, industrial relations and education policies.

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  • Donatella Cavagnoli, 2008. "Innovation and the Role of Habits: A Conceptual Analysis," Working Papers 2008.03, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  • Handle: RePEc:trb:wpaper:2008.03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brewster, Chris & Mayne, Lesley & Tregaskis, Olga, 1997. "Flexible working in Europe," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 133-151, July.
    2. Lynn Mytelka, 2004. "Catching up in new wave technologies," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 389-405.
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