Cognition and Innovation: Volume 3

Cover of Cognition and Innovation

Table of contents

(11 chapters)


Pages i-viii
Content available

In this brief introduction, we reflect on the diversity of studies connecting cognition to innovation and the enormous potential that exists for further research. Research streams on cognition in organizations, innovation in organizations, and intra- and entrepreneurship have developed in parallel over the past decades, with frequent touchpoints, notably in terms of theories of cognition informing studies on the processes of innovation and creativity. Cognition theories have thus been considered as micro-foundations of many theories of innovation. Here, we outline the many ways that theories of cognition can yield insights for studies of innovation and discuss the contributions of chapters comprising this third volume of New Horizons in Managerial and Organizational Cognition.


Despite increasing interest in business model innovation (BMI), there is only limited scholarship that examines how business model (BM) innovators present and explain their innovations to various stakeholders. As BMI often involves the creation of a new ecosystem, understanding how innovators can gain support of future ecosystem members is important. Based on a longitudinal case study of Salesforce, a pioneer in cloud computing, the authors show how the innovator’s skillful framing to different audiences fosters the emergence of an ecosystem around the new BM. The authors suggest that effective framing constitutes an important strategic process that enables BM innovators to shape new ecosystems due to the performative power of words.


In this chapter the authors present a field study investigating the adoption of information communications technology innovation at a UK-based University hospital. The authors have followed the implementation of electronic medicine chart technology (EMEDs) designed to replace “traditional” paper-based systems used by doctors, nurses, and pharmacists teams in the hospital. Having studied the interactions between the “user” and “implementer” groups, the findings of this chapter offer a socio-cognitive model of innovation adoption which accounts for the intra- and inter-team idiosyncrasies that underpin the processes of implementation. Using the concept of interactive framing as the analytical lens, findings of this chapter illustrate that the adoption and diffusion process of innovation is a social process resulting from the interaction of organizational team members. The cycles constituting the adoption and implementation of EMEDs in this research encapsulate the conflicting experience of different groups and their transition from implementation to acceptance. The authors have adopted a socio-cognitive perspective to explain the asymmetrical experience of different groups in a complex, high reliable organization.


This study updates the discussion on demand-pull attention as a source of radical product innovation. Demand-pull attention shows an ex ante alignment with market characteristics and needs as opposed to pushing resources toward markets. The authors suggest a holistic framework and specify three dimensions of demand-pull attention: anticipated or revealed market demand, market environment, and external economic environment. Based on a large German longitudinal panel consisting of 941 firm-year observations from 2003 to 2013, the authors conceptualized the measurement of demand-pull dimensions’ attention and radical product innovation using computer-aided text analysis of annual reports. The authors analyzed the relationship between the attention that a firm pays to different demand-pull dimensions and the firm’s strategic intention to radically innovate; thus, the authors actually focused on the cognitive sources of radical product innovations. This chapter suggests that radical product innovation activities are positively driven by attention toward the market environment and market demand orientation. However, the hypothesis, which assumed a negative relationship between attention toward the external economic environment and radical innovation, could not be significantly confirmed. This demands a closer look into the underlying decision processes of firms when deciding on radical product innovations. With the theoretical grounding on the attention-based view of the firm, the authors contribute to a better understanding of the role that organizational cognition plays in innovation processes.


Entrepreneurial opportunity (EO) identification pertains to the core processes of entrepreneurship and innovation. The initial phase of this process starts with individual cognition, which is why cognition has been established as a critical theoretical perspective.

Knowledge and new information have been confirmed as essential cognitive impact factors. However, it is not understood well, how individuals apply those factors and how they actually identify innovative and economically viable EOs. To address the limitations of current research, this chapter investigates the current literature on underlying cognitive processes of opportunity identification.

The literature analysis demonstrates that there is not a single cognitive process but rather a magnitude of different micro-mechanisms that are necessary for the successful identification of EOs. The findings are grouped to four categories of cognitive processes and entail their micro-mechanisms: pattern recognition, information processing, and creative thinking. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that those micro-mechanisms have seldom been related to each other within the scope of opportunity identification. This chapter closes this gap by discussing and contrasting and the different process categories and respective micro-mechanisms and suggests an integrative theory development and avenues for future research.


To facilitate innovative software development, more and more software development teams (SDTs) turn to agile methods. Such agile methods develop both extensive and efficient software responses to a client’s requirement change. However, the antecedents of successful agile software development are poorly understood. The authors goal is to propose a model of how power asymmetry and paradoxical leadership interact and affect agility in SDTs, which in turn affect their capacity to innovate. By leveraging insights from research on individuals’ cognition, the authors argue that developers with relatively higher power evaluate their contributions to their teams more ambivalently, which increases their delay or postponement of their contributions to their teams’ tasks. As a result, power asymmetry is negatively related to software teams’ response extensiveness and efficiency. Second, and drawing on leadership studies on behavioral complexity, the authors consider the moderating role of paradoxical leadership that a team receives as an important moderating factor to this effect. The authors argue that, when team leaders exhibit paradoxical leadership behaviors, high-power individuals’ ambivalence is less likely to emerge; hence, transforming power asymmetry to an asset for the enhancement of agility in the SDT.


University–industry collaborations are an important driver of innovation that highlights the benefits of collaborative processes across organizational boundaries. However, like in most collaborative processes, many challenges remain when trying to manage the process of knowledge sharing and interaction in university–industry partnerships. In this chapter, the authors specifically investigate how leadership as a managerial dimension facilitates collaboration within university–industry joint laboratories. The authors present an explorative and inductive case study of eight joint laboratories set up by Telecom Italia within five major Italian universities. The results show that the laboratory directors play a crucial role in providing a dynamic and socially active working environment, which is enabled through a process of sensemaking and sensegiving. The authors, moreover, find that this process plays a crucial role by shaping effective communication channels that facilitate knowledge sharing and transfer of information. The authors find that this process ultimately acts as a mediator between charismatic leadership on the individual level and distributed leadership on the collective level.


This chapter seeks to advance the neglected debate on the ethical issues between formal organization and practice arising from innovation in an organization. To that end, the chapter discusses the sources of possible moral dilemmas for practitioners who belong to a practice with a shared identity, values, and standards of excellence, and who need to conform to new rules of formal organization. While formal organization ideally strives for generalized fairness principles for all organizational members when introducing an innovation, the contextualized nature of practices may lead to particular needs and goals of the practice which can only be recognized as such by practitioners and not by formal management, and to which procedural justice cannot respond. The chapter proposes how practitioners may interpret moral dilemmas, aligned with their practice-based identity and ethical values, and what options for action they may seek. The discussion is illustrated with examples of innovation in the field of information systems design.


Pages 217-221
Content available
Cover of Cognition and Innovation
Publication date
Book series
New Horizons in Managerial and Organizational Cognition
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN