Is Radical Innovation Management Misunderstood? Problematising the Radical Innovation Discipline

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This paper poses a critical view on radical innovation (RI) management research and practice. The study investigates how expected RI performance influences firms’ under- standing of their RI capability. RI performance is often based on output measures such as market shares or fiscal return. On the contrary, RI capability building advocates for ex- ploration, learning, and accepting uncertainty. Hence, RI capability building often focuses on the processes of the firms, and not the outcome. Thus, it is argued that the RI capability- building and RI performance expectations are based on different managerial orientations. Coupling a discussion of the literature with case findings from four large international firms, this paper identifies a discrepancy between RI capability-building and RI perfor- mance within literature and practice. This is regarded to be a major contributing factor to RI program failure. This study presents three misunderstandings related to RI research and practice and discusses implications of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1540010
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number6
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015


  • Innovation management
  • radical innovation
  • discontinuous innovation
  • break- through innovation
  • capability building
  • performance output.

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