The Role of Trust in Innovation

Emerald Group Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Learning Organization, 2009, 16 (4), pp. 311 - 325
Issue Date:
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The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of trust in the collaborative learning processes that underpin innovation as a competitive strategy in organizations. Design/methodology/approach As a conceptual paper, the argument is framed by academic perspectives, drawn from the academic literature on the topic and by professional and life experience. Findings The collaborative learning practices that underpin idea generation and realization in organizations are strongly dependent for their effectiveness upon the availability, within and beyond stakeholder networks, of trust and other key social capital resources. Practical implications If innovation is dependent upon social capital resources, such as trust, then leadership endeavour needs to be much more focused upon the creation of a social environment that nurtures rich stakeholder and other relevant network, relationships. New forms of governance and power management, and more appropriate and aligned organizational structures, are required in organizations that are attempting to compete through innovation. Originality/value The paper's explication of the role of social capital resources, like trust, in organizational innovation offers new insights into this complex but increasingly vital form of competitive strategy.
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