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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Organizational Innovation Across the Technological Innovation Process: The Moderating Influence of Hybrid Change Agents
Organization Unit
  • Christian Rupietta
  • Johannes Meuer
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Series Name Swiss Leading House Working Paper
Number 145
Date 2018
Abstract Text A rapidly increasing number of studies provide evidence of the positive impact of organizational innovation, that is, the development and implementation of new organizational practices, processes, and structures, on firms’ propensity to develop new and improve existing products and processes. When investigating the initiators of organizational innovation, to date, research has primarily focused on internal and external change agents at upper echelons, neglecting the role of hybrid change agents at lower echelons. We argue that hybrid change agents, because of their unique ability to integrate external and internal knowledge, are particularly important for organizational innovation and may positively influence the technological innovation process. We examine how apprentices in the Swiss Vocational Education and Training (VET) system are key to integrating external knowledge (through school-based education) with internal knowledge (through on-the-job training) and moderating the influence of organizational innovation on technological innovation. Drawing on a sample of 1,240 firms from a representative Swiss Innovation Survey, we show that apprentices leverage the positive effects of innovations in a firm’s business processes and organization of work on incremental innovations. We contribute to the literature on complementarities between organizational and technological innovation by highlighting the role of hybrid change agents at the lower echelons and by revealing how different types of organizational innovation affect technological innovation across the innovation process. We also contribute to the literature on VET systems by revealing the significant role of apprentices on firms’ technological innovation activities.
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