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Title: The ethics in radical innovation : insights into the hearing implant industry
Author: Koell, Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 4122
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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How do ethics and morals shape innovational business needs if a manufacturer of hearing implants decides to establish its own clinics? In this doctoral thesis I address this radical innovation venture from the immersed researcher perspective and as the responsible change agent. I utilise emergent action research to solve inherent organisational susceptibility for project failure. The points of interest are the ethical positions of specific stakeholder groups, the organisational dynamics as well as potential paradoxes that might occur. My inquiry features processes of action cycles, where I apply behavioural science and combine it with organisational knowledge. At the same time, I bring about change in my company, which has emerged from my actionable inquiry. For this I utilise current literature in management research, ethics, morals and innovation. My research design adopts a phenomenological Action Science approach, building on an ontologically relative and epistemologically constructive view with a pluralist and pragmatic twist. This approach ideally reflects and combines both my personal scientific belief system as well as my company's worldview on organisational research. Based on this conception I thematise my pressing workplace problem on potential project failure by asking research questions on how ethics shape innovation. This comprises questions on the ethical position of stakeholders, potential organisational impacts of my radical innovation venture and paradoxes that might occur. I address these research questions with mixed methods, including quantitative questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The outcomes, generated through cycles of action and reflection, show that my research participants' mean ethical positions have similar ethical scores as the globally validated average, while individuals' scores differed significantly in partial aspects of idealism and relativism. I characterise my participants as pragmatic practitioners, with a minor absolutist tendency. My research did not unfold insurmountable paradoxes between ethics and innovation. This thesis proved that the venture of setting up company-owned clinics was ethically sound, with conditions. The conditions mainly address the finding that ethical norms varied across the globe. Accordingly, leaders of our established clinics should be hired locally to understand and effectively manage the different demands in various regions in the world optimally. This outcome of my research had organisational implications and led to action which took the form of replacing the lead position of our pilot clinic and respective adaptions of hiring policies. Emergent and iterative cycles of action and reflection triggered this respective organisational change. Subsequently business models were suggested based on service and patient outcomes. Additionally a discussion process regarding our corporate personality and an even stronger focus on patients was initiated. Finally I suggest further action cycles and research into our corporate belief system with additional stakeholders to further develop our corporation and myself.
Supervisor: Hanly, Jim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral