טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentBlank Tali Hadasa
SubjectRadical Innovation in R&D Teams: The Effect of
Learning Behavior, Promotion Focus, and Time
Pressure
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Naveh Eitan
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

This dissertation investigates the achievement of radical innovation in Research and Development (R&D) teams working in industrial firms.  In spite of the need for and the importance of radical innovation for organizational survival, the literature is not clear about how it is achieved within R&D teams in the presence of two common constraints: (1) the tension between exploration for new information or understandings and the tendency to exploit known knowledge and capabilities; and (2) time pressure.  To fill in this theoretical gap we conducted two separate studies that examined the effect of these two challenges on the achievement of radical innovation by R&D teams.

Study 1 examined the tension between exploration and exploitation while relating to the moderating effect of learning behavior and type of motivation (i.e., promotion focus) on the achievement of radical innovation.  Using results obtained from 108 R&D teams from six high-tech organizations, the study found that there is more than one way to achieve radical innovation.  First, when the level of learning behavior was high, the tension between exploration and exploitation was mitigated and they complemented each other.  Second, when learning behavior was at a low level, tension between exploration and exploitation surfaced and thus they competed with each other.  Contrary to our expectations, promotion-focus motivation did not change the effect of the exploration-exploitation tension on radical innovation.

Study 2 used punctuated equilibrium theory to settle the discrepancies between inconsistent results regarding the effect of time pressure on radical innovation. We applied a particular mechanism derived from punctuated equilibrium called "stop and think interruptions”, which occurs when team members intentionally stop the work they were doing, reflect on and evaluate their work progress, and decide where to go next.  Using results obtained from 40 R&D teams from one large organization we found that stop and think interruptions enhance radical innovation via exploration activities and sensitive to time pressure.  The results demonstrated that when the level of time pressure was high, the level of radical innovativeness was high regardless of the level of stop and think interruptions.  However, when time pressure was low, high radical innovation was associated with the use of stop and think breaks by R&D teams.

In all, 577 team members and 292 team managers from 148 R&D teams participated in Studies 1 and 2.  The research hypotheses were tested via CFA, regression, and HLM analyses.