1st Edition

Innovation Networks Managing the networked organization

By Rick Aalbers, Wilfred Dolfsma Copyright 2015
    196 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    196 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Organizations are complex social systems that are not easy to understand, yet they must be managed if a company is to succeed. This book explains networks and how managers and organizations can navigate them to produce successful strategic innovation outcomes. Although managers are increasingly aware of the importance of social relations for the inner-workings of the organization, they often lack insights and tools to analyze, influence or even create these networks.

    This book draws on insights from social network theory; insights sharpened by research in a number of different empirical settings including production, engineering, financial services, consulting, food processing, and R&D/hi-tech organizations and alternates between offering critical real business examples and more rigorous analysis.

    This concise book is vital reading for students of business and management as well as managers and executives.

    Preface  1. Introduction to the Networked Organization  Part I: Networks and Organization Strategy  2. Diagnosing the Organization  3. Innovation Roles: Internally and externally oriented brokerage  4. Case Study: Intermezzo Cooperation for Innovation at Siemens  5. Rich Ties  6. Cross Ties  PartII: Networking Interventions - Rewiring the Organization  7. Intervening to Stimulate Innovation  8. Innovation Despite Reorganization  9. Methodological Considerations for Network Analysis  10. Managing Innovation in the Networked Organization: Conclusions  Appendix: Supporting Notes - To Intermezzo case 'Cooperation for Innovation at Siemens'


    Rick (H.L.) Aalbers is an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Radboud University, Nijmegen School of Management and affiliated with the Institute of Management Research, the Netherlands. He received his PhD from the University of Groningen in Business and Economics for an Award winning dissertation on managing intra organizational networks. Rick received his Bachelor and Masters in Business Administration from Erasmus University’s RSM and his second Masters in Economics from the Rotterdam School of Economics (awarded cum laude). He has published in leading international journals such as Research Policy, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Product Innovation Management, British Journal of Management, Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice, Journal of Business Strategy and the Journal of Economic Issues, and others. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Management Studies. A former manager at Deloitte Consulting and a visiting scholar at Imperial College, London, he advised on strategic change to companies across Europe such as ING, ABN-Amro, Fortis, Achmea, NN, KBC, OP Pohjola, Rabobank, Philips, Atos, Deloitte and BDO. For earlier work on managing innovation networks in business he received the 2013 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded by a jury of MIT faculty to the authors of the most outstanding MIT Sloan Management Review article on planned change and organizational development published in the previous year.

    Wilfred Dolfsma is Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the University of Groningen School of Economics and Business. He studied economics and philosophy, and holds a PhD in the former from Erasmus University. He consulted with a number of different companies, including ASML, Campina-Friesland Food, DSM, and Ford. He published in, a.o., the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Research Policy, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, the Journal of Economic Issues, the British Journal of Management, Technovation, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Social Economy (2005-) and Associate Editor of Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice (2012-). He authored or edited, a.o., Interdisciplinary Economics (ed., with S.Kesting, Routledge 2013), Government Failure (Edward Elgar 2013), Understanding Mergers and Acquisition in the 21st Century (with K.McCarthy, Palgrave Macmillan 2012), The Nature of the New Firm: Beyond the Boundaries of Organizations and Institutions (ed. With K. McCarthy and M. Fiolet, Edward Elgar 2011), Institutions, Communication and Values (Palgrave Macmillan 2009), Knowledge Economies: Innovation, Location, and Organization (Routledge 2008; Paperback 2009), The Elgar Handbook of Social Economics (ed., with J. Davis; Edward Elgar 2008; Outstanding Academic Title for 2009, according to Choice Magazine; Paperback 2010), Fighting the War on File Sharing. (with A. Schmidt and W. Keuvelaar, T.M.C. Asser Press &Cambridge UP 2007), Ethics and the Market (ed., with J. Clary and D.M. Figart, Routledge 2006, Paperback 2011), Understanding the Dynamics of a Knowledge Economy (ed., with L. Soete, Edward Elgar 2006), Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences (Edward Elgar 2004; Gunnar Myrdal Prize 2006).

    'It is painfully rare for a book to offer value to theorists and practitioners alike. Aalbers and Dolfsma square that elusive circle by showing in persuasive detail how communication and network gaps and blockages within organizations derail innovation. With rare but welcome equal billing for formal and informal structure alike, and a keen eye for how they can fruitfully combine, they show how alert managers can leverage the tools of network analysis to create an "innovation engagement scan" that will jumpstart innovation by putting people together who ordinarily do not communicate. A seminal contribution and an indispensable aid for firms in search of innovation.' - Mark Granovetter, Professor, Stanford University, USA

    'The reality of organisational life is that we operate through networks of relationships. To make sense of how these networks operate, Aalbers and Dolfsma have put together this impressive book – it explains the theory of networks in a clear and accessible way, and it also shows how these academic concepts can be applied in a practical way.' - Julian Birkinshaw, Professor, London Business School, UK

    'In a time in which we expect big shifts for many established organizations, the navigation of social networks focused on innovation has become a core competence. Although the importance of networks is recognized, many boards and managers still have limited insights and tools to analyze, influence or even create these networks. This book offers a great opportunity for all of us to come up to speed in this highly interesting domain.' - Pieter Hofman, Partner at Deloitte Consulting, the Netherlands

    'Effective networks are critical to successful innovation. This valuable contribution demonstrates the significance of networks and reveals how they can best be managed.' - Mark Dodgson, Professor, University of Queensland, Australia

    'In an era of increasingly connected organizational networks and maturing big data analysis, executives and managers now have additional tools to design and manage the organization for innovation. Innovation Networks offers a fresh approach to analyzing and implementing organizational networks through a unique blend of practical methods and examples.' - Li Feng Wu, Head of Analytics PayPal, China

    'Networks in organizations are crucial for successful innovation. This book will help you understand how formal and informal networks, built up from relationships between people, can boost a firm’s innovative power. I am convinced effective networks can improve all functions in an organization. It is all about connecting from person to person and sharing ideas and information amongst each other.' - Paul Poels, Director of Digital Analytics, Philips, the Netherlands