Selecting Innovation Projects: Do Middle and Senior Managers Differ When It Comes to Radical Innovation?

Ralf Wilden, Nidthida Lin, Jan Hohberger, Krithika Randhawa

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drawing on the attention-based view, we theorize about the differences in middle and senior managers' choices to pursue innovation projects. We test our hypotheses in an experimental study examining the decision-making processes of 180 senior and middle managers in selecting, or not, 2880 innovation projects. We find that managers differ in how they select innovation projects in general, and this difference becomes even more salient when such selections involve radical innovation. Specifically, when considering a radical innovation project, middle managers place more value on innovation characteristics required to complete the project, such as social capital and internal knowledge resources. In comparison, senior managers are concerned only with external knowledge resources, which can benefit radical innovation. Our study highlights the need to understand the role of middle managers, who frequently lead the implementation of innovation projects, and provides a theoretical underpinning for the differences in middle and senior managers' decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1720-1751
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Volume60
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • attention-based view
  • decision-making
  • experiment
  • middle managers
  • radical innovation
  • upper echelon

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