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Product and process innovation in process industry: a new perspective on development

Markus E. Bergfors (Conchius (Shanghai) Limited, Shanghai, People's Republic China)
Andreas Larsson (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova), Stockholm, Sweden)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 7 August 2009




The purpose of this paper is to open up the research and development (R&D) organisation by separating product and process innovation and exploring these activities in terms of the structural variable of centralisation versus decentralisation.


Case studies of three multinational firms, representing food and beverage, mining and minerals, and pulp and paper industry.


Dual structures may exist within the R&D organisation, one for product innovation and one for process innovation. Consequently, it is suggested that the conventional notion of R&D organisational design, equating R&D more or less with product innovation, does not present a complete picture for many firms.

Research limitations/implications

Opening up the R&D organisation will help further the understanding link between the organisational structuring of product and process innovation, and the efforts of organisations to develop resources and competitive advantages.

Practical implications

The findings have implications for managing the strategy‐organizational fit concerning innovation in process industry.


The conventional view regarding R&D as a single entity – either centralised or decentralised – does not present a complete picture. This paper clarifies the link between strategic innovation determinants and the organisational configuration of R&D.



Bergfors, M.E. and Larsson, A. (2009), "Product and process innovation in process industry: a new perspective on development", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 261-276.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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