Managerial innovation is defined “as the invention and implementation of a management practice, process, structure, or technique that is new to the state of the art and is intended to further organizational goals” (Birkinshaw et al., 2008, p. 825). Literature on managerial innovation points out its critical role on performance and organizational renewal (Damanpour and Aravind, 2019; Khosravi et al., 2019). However, empirical studies on managerial innovation-outcomes relationship remain scarce and unclear especially about its moderators and mediators (ibid.) and its performance (economic/ non-economic, short term/ long term etc.) Over the last decade, many firms, whether large firms or SMEs, adopt various type of managerial innovation (e.g. participatory innovation and crowdsourcing (Howe, 2006), liberated company (Getz, 2009) etc.). If academics deal with managerial innovation and its operationalization, little is known about expected outcomes and its performance. Studying the concrete results and outcomes of an innovation, whatever its type, is a key issue (Camisón and Villar-López, 2014; Le Roy et al., 2013) but it is associated with methodological difficulties that need to be addressed: how to measure managerial innovation, how to isolate effects due to managerial innovation adoption, performance measurement, etc. (CIS, 2016; Damanpour et al., 2018; Khosravi et al., 2019; Walker et al., 2015). Overall, rational and institutional perspectives are the two perspectives traditionally associated with outcomes review (Walker et al., 2015). The authors argue that a managerial innovation is adopted with the objective of positive outcomes for the organization and/or society as a whole. In line with the main theme of R&D management conference 2020 “Innovation across Boundaries: Historical Reflections and Future Visions”, this track addresses major challenge innovations and the search for more sustainable managerial innovations. The outcomes associated with the adoption of a managerial innovation are generally of two kinds (Walker et al., 2015):
(1) From a rational perspective, outcomes are considered as economics (in line with operational performance); e.g. labour productivity, financial profitability (e.g. Mol and Birkinshaw, 2009); acquisition of a competitive advantage (Camisón and Villar-López, 2011; Besbes et al., 2013); effects of managerial innovation on other types of innovation (products, processes, marketing). Managerial innovation could also lead to increase technological innovation and creativity (Camisón and Villar-López, 2014; Poli, 2019; Ramboarison-Lalao and Gannouni, 2018). For example, open innovation, either internal or external, may improve creativity of organisations (e.g. Ruiz et al., forthcoming). However, positive effects of managerial innovation on performance are not guaranteed, as managerial innovations may not bring any outcomes or lead to marginal improvements (Hamel and Breen, 2007).
(2) From an institutional perspective, outcomes are related to non-economic results. In this perspective, the adoption of managerial innovation is associated with legitimacy or social outcomes, as it focuses on the roles of external actors and social factors (Sturdy, 2004; Walker et al., 2015). Walker et al. (2015) point out that managerial innovations can also have an effect on non-economic performance (customer satisfaction, development of alliances or acquisition of legitimacy). However, social performance is rare and reveals competing results (e.g. Luk et al., 2008; Mattelin-Pierrard, 2018). In addition to the rational perspective, this perspective may help to identify and evaluate more (real or so-called) sustainable managerial innovations.
Recently, some authors called for combining various theoretical perspectives (rational, institutional, cultural, theory development perspective etc.) to better understand managerial innovation and its outcomes (Damanpour et al., 2014; Volberda et al., 2014).