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The evolution of the pathways of innovation strategies in the automotive industry. The case of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Elena Candelo (Department of Management, University of Turin, Turin, Italy)
Ciro Troise (Department of Economics, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Capua, Italy)
Diego Matricano (Department of Economics, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Capua, Italy)
Amedeo Lepore (Department of Economics, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Capua, Italy)
Mario Sorrentino (Department of Economics, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Capua, Italy)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 18 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Fundamental management innovations have been ideated and developed in the automotive industry. Over the years, carmakers have radically modified their innovation strategies. Currently, carmakers are increasingly adopting open innovation approaches, moving from a closed to open innovation paradigm. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the evolution of the innovation activities performed by carmakers and to propose an original periodisation of innovation strategies in the automotive industry since its origins.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper analyses the relevant literature and proposes a theoretical framework that defines how innovation strategies have changed from the birth of the automotive industry to current times. A detailed in-depth case study of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), one of the top ten global carmakers, is used to corroborate the theoretical framework. The case study reconstructs the entire evolution of the innovation strategies of the company from its origins to the present day.

Findings

The paper proposes an original periodisation by identifying three evolutionary phases of innovation strategies pursued by carmakers: “internal innovation”, “collaborative innovation” and “towards open innovation”. Each phase embraces a historical period, and for each period, the most relevant managerial aspects, as well as the types and direction of knowledge flows for fostering innovation, are analysed. The case study provides clear evidence that FCA has undergone the three above-cited phases in fostering its innovation strategies.

Originality/value

The study reconstructs the evolution of the innovation strategies performed by global carmakers, proposing an original periodisation of the transitions that occurred in practice in the automotive industry. This paper is among the first to explore the evolution of innovation strategies in the automotive industry since its origins to date and to highlight the salient differences that have occurred over time.

Keywords

Citation

Candelo, E., Troise, C., Matricano, D., Lepore, A. and Sorrentino, M. (2021), "The evolution of the pathways of innovation strategies in the automotive industry. The case of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-01-2021-0058

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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