What do we really know about when technological innovation improves performance (and when it does not)?
Ricart, Joan E.
Most approaches to innovation bear the implicit assumption that increased innovativeness leads to improved organizational performance. Thus, more attention has been focused on innovativeness than on innovation performance; on novelty than on value. However, recent empirical evidence calls into question the unqualified optimism surrounding innovation, and leads us to ask what we really know about when technological innovation improves performance. In this paper, we seek to make a contribution by presenting the results of an exhaustive review of extant knowledge on the outcomes of technological innovation. Our synthesis of the literature allows us to relate in one parsimonious model the drivers and moderators of the antecedents, technical outcomes, and performance outcomes of technological innovation and technological change. We also make sense of the proliferation of terms, and consequent terminological ambiguity, which characterizes a lot of work on technological innovation. Finally, in the light of the model presented and recent developments in work on firm capabilities, we indicate possible avenues for further development of this critical area of research.
Technological innovation; organizational performance; innovation and innovativeness;
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