Building capacity for sustainable innovation: A field study of the transition from exploitation to exploration and back again

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Abstract

In this study, I investigate how a European company with a 50-year history creating and producing polymer products completed an entire innovation project that was being implemented as part of a new, sustainability-oriented strategy. The aim of the new corporate strategy was twofold. The first aim was to recognize new sustainable opportunities and to translate these opportunities into concrete products or services that could be commercialized. The second aim was to build the organization's innovation capacity such that organizational members would be able to better manage the difficult transitions they experienced when switching between activities related to exploration and exploitation. Organizational learning theory was applied as a theoretical lens, and a qualitative multimethod approach was utilized to build the case that served as the empirical foundation for the study. Five propositions that provide new and more granular perspectives to the study's theoretical background were developed. Additionally, a new model was proposed that can be used to explain how organizational members’ innovation capacity can be developed via feedforward and feedback when implementing a sustainability-oriented strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122381
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume268
Number of pages12
ISSN0959-6526
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2020

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