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Title: Starting up & steering an innovation practice in a temporary organization
Author: Kumar, Rahul
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is driven by an interest in exploring whether and how temporary organizations can adopt an organizational innovation practice to foster innovations in the broader industry. It examines a seemingly paradoxical case in which a major project adopts an organizational innovation practice to facilitate innovations by tapping open and emergent opportunities in its midst. It uses this opportunity to theorize about organizational identity, routine, and legitimacy processes. In particular, it focuses on strategies used by activists inside the organization to get around constraints inherent in the identity and routines of the organization. In Chapter 3, I investigate how activists can get around the constraint of organizational identity, more specifically temporal assumptions underlying the identity, as they mobilize justifications for a practice based on conflicting temporal assumptions. In Chapter 4, I introduce the concept of a weak practice and investigate a weak practice lacking cultural-cognitive legitimacy can be enacted without any recourse to coercion. In particular, I focus on the role of internal activists in promoting the practice through a series of legitimacy exchanges between the focal practice with several other practices in the organization. In Chapter 5, I investigate the role that activists play in steering an organizational innovation practice through planning-oriented, risk averse organizational routines. In particular, I focus on how these activists can stretch the capability of these routines to accommodate the requirement of the new practice. Finally, in Chapter 6, I conclude the thesis with a discussion of the implications of the findings and some suggestions about opportunities for future research.
Supervisor: Phillips, Nelson ; Davies, Andrew ; Gann, David Sponsor: Cross London Rail Links Ltd
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral