'Processualizing' innovation research: a deconstructive analysis of organizing while innovating

Anup Karath Nair

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“How can theorizing on organization structures be aligned with the facts of the innovation journey?” Managing the innovation journey, is vexing and fraught with ambiguity. Empirical research is replete with happy accidents, serial failures, unforeseen mutations, confrontational exchanges and a gleeful determination to upset the status quo. And yet, current theories on innovating appear inadequate for capturing and explaining the dynamic process of innovating.This suggests that the theorizing process investigating organizing while innovating has been the theoretical equivalent of square pegs for round holes. Therefore, there is a need to distance ourselves from the caricaturist theories which graft mechanisms for ‘process’ onto concepts that basically are built to explain order. For this, we have to undertake a concerted effort to rebuild our theories by privileging ‘process’. In this paper, I initiate this rebuilding effort by extracting ideas from the philosophical oeuvres of William James (1909/2011), Alfred North Whitehead ([1929] 1978); and Henri Bergson ([1911]/1998); squeezing the ideas for meaning. This meaning is then infused into a theoretical reconceptualization which is sensitive to process, embraces complexity and makes links between abstract analysis and lived experiences. I then apply these insights to ‘problematize’ existing theories of organizational structures guiding innovating. Put differently, by embracing a theorizing approach which focuses on ‘organizational becoming’ as opposed to organizational ‘being’, organizational structures guiding innovating are re-conceptualized as an emergent property of change. Such an approach, I believe, would allow an integration of the creative and collective effort driving the co-creation process while innovating.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2013
Event29th EGOS Colloquium - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 4 Jul 20136 Jul 2013


Conference29th EGOS Colloquium


  • processualizing
  • innovation research
  • deconstructive analysis
  • organizing


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