Examining management capabilities for innovation : creating the capacity to let go
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Dennis MussigDennis Mussig, Vitale Di MiliaVitale Di Milia, Paul HylandPaul Hyland
The capacity to cope with radical uncertainty is critical to any business in securing competitive advantage. Since the middle of the twentieth century differing learning methods have been used to change employee behaviours and increase skills and competencies. Learning is critical to developing innovation capabilities but innovation management continues to be a strategic challenge for business, and many companies lack the prerequisite managerial competencies required for innovation. Supporting high levels of involvement by all operational stakeholders through continuous learning initiatives increases the need to develop new managerial competencies and organisational capabilities and behaviours that support the innovation process. This new innovation climate requires a shift from a facilitative or control role, to one where the manager, just like a coach, has to let the team do their thing when required. Managers have to develop the capacity to trust and let go. Using data collected from a sample of Australian manufacturing firms surveyed in 2003, this paper reports on certain findings in relation to management practices as part of continuous improvement and learning activities. Managers in the sample identified the increased need for management to play an effective role in improvement and learning activities. However when cross tabulated with an 'Innovation Maturity Index' only a small number of organisations were ranked in the 'High Maturity' category which contemporary literate suggest requires 'low' management involvement. The results also identify a low level of employees taking up opportunities for learning or personal development. Inadequate management competencies are discussed as a possible cause of the gap between the desired and the current position which has the potential to reduce not increase organisational learning capabilities and competitive advantage.