Action Research as a Leadership Strategy for Innovation: The Case of a Global High-Technology Organisation

Rainer Hampp Verlaff,
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Action Research, 2016, 12 (1), pp. 8 - 37 (30)
Issue Date:
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The paper describes two sets of action research within an iconic global high-tech company. Two teams within the organisation (one in New York and one in Sydney) were selected to participate on the basis of their failure to have achieved any technical innovation over the previous three years. The action research had the practical goal of generating valuable technical innovations and the research goal of gaining insight into any social (leadership) practices that may have facilitated the technical innovation. The research delivered novel insights into the nature of the leadership practices that enabled these two teams to deliver four company-lauded technical innovations. The principal finding of the research - that social innovation precedes technical innovation – highlights the role action research can play in the creation of a social environment conducive to technical innovation within enterprises.
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