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International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol.

*, ** (2011)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00321.x

The Strategic Management of Innovation:

A Systematic Review and Paths for
Future Research ijmr_321 1..24

Marcus Matthias Keupp, Maximilian Palmi and Oliver Gassmann

Institute of Technology Management, University of St. Gallen, Dufourstrasse 40a, CH-9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Corresponding author email:

Strategic management scholars have long emphasized the importance of innovation for
a firms competitive advantage and performance. However, the current state of know-
ledge about the strategic management of innovation is characterized by conflicting
theoretical predictions, persisting knowledge gaps and theoretical inconsistencies.
Adopting a systematic approach to reviewing the literature, this paper combines
different quantitative methods co-word analysis, cluster analysis and frequency ana-
lysis to review 342 articles on the strategic management of innovation published in
seven journals from 1992 to 2010. On the basis of these analyses, suggestions are
developed for future research which could help to promote future theory development
and provide relevant material for policy decisions that managers and executives have to
make when they manage innovation.

Introduction 1992; Porter 1985). Consequently, the strategic

management of innovation has become a central
Firms can use innovation strategically in order to topic within the strategic management field (e.g.
achieve competitive advantage (Hitt et al. 1998; Herrmann 2005; Nag et al. 2007). A systematic
Ireland and Hitt 1999), compete effectively in local study of this issue should therefore be beneficial to
and global markets (Subramaniam and Venkatraman both academic researchers and practitioners, which is
1999), adapt their strategy to changing market and why this paper undertakes to review the innovation
customer demands, create value and growth (Amit literature from a strategic management perspective.
and Zott 2001) and achieve superior performance We adopt Damanpours (1991) understanding
(Grimm and Smith 1997; Lee et al. 2000; Roberts of innovation: An innovation can be a new product or
1999; Zahra et al. 2000). Therefore, the strategic service, a new production process technology, a
management of innovation represents an important new structure or administrative system, or a new plan
component of a firms strategy (Hamel 2000) and a or program pertaining to organisational members.
major contributing factor to a firms competitive Since this definition accommodates different forms
advantage (Elenkov and Manev 2005; Lengnick-Hall of innovation, it allows us to minimize the possibility
of selection biases rooted in definition issues.
Further, we follow Nag et al.s (2007) comprehen-
sive definition of strategic management as a field that
We thank IJMRs Editors Allan Macpherson and Oswald deals with the major intended and emergent initia-
Jones, its Associate Editor Andrea Ordanini and two anony- tives taken and the internal organisation adopted by
mous reviewers for their insightful comments, which helped
to improve this paper. We also thank Peter Cappelli for general managers on behalf of owners, involving the
insightful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript use of resources to enhance the performance of firms
and, finally, Naomi Haefner for valuable research assistance. in their external environments.

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA
02148, USA
2 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

Combining the two definitions, we suggest that the (Argyres and Silverman 2004; Criscuolo and
strategic management of innovation is concerned Narula 2007; Frost and Zhou 2005; Nerkar and
with using appropriate strategic management tech- Paruchuri 2005).
niques and measures to augment the impact of the Third, these developments create significant prob-
firms innovation activities on firm growth and lems for executives. Several decades of innovation
performance. management research have failed to deliver clear
A number of arguments speak for the theoretical and consistent findings, coherent advice to manag-
and practical relevance of producing a review on the ers, and convincing best practice solutions (Tidd
strategic management of innovation. 2001). For instance, firms that produce break-
First, over the last 20 years the global economic through innovations use other management practices
regime has become increasingly liberalized, while than those that focus on incremental innovation
a focus on innovation has replaced traditional cost- (Leifer and Rice 1999). Executives are therefore
oriented business models in many firms (McGrath confronted with an overwhelmingly complex litera-
et al. 1996). Since the 1990s, these develop- ture and very little practical guidance; managing
ments have triggered an exponential growth in innovation has become a daunting task (Drazin
the innovation literature, and many novel topics and Schoonhoven 1996, p. 1081).
have emerged, such as international innovation (e.g. Since the seminal reviews of Lengnick-Hall
Granstrand et al. 1993), headquartersubsidiary (1992) and Wolfe (1994), no comprehensive review
relationships (e.g. Birkinshaw et al. 1998; Frost on the strategic management of innovation has been
et al. 2002), knowledge management (e.g. Kogut published, although the innovation literature has
and Zander 1992), and open innovation business grown exponentially since. There are reviews of
models (e.g. Chesbrough 2003; von Hippel and specialized subtopics which all relate to innovation,
von Krogh 2003). Moreover, theoretical frame- such as: the relationship between social capital and
works such as the knowledge-based view of the innovation (Zheng 2010); the measurement and
firm or the dynamic capabilities perspective that valuation of the inputs and results of the innovation
have emerged since then have offered many new process (Adams et al. 2006; Johnson et al. 2002);
ways of theorizing about innovation. All these specific types and typologies of innovation (Garcia
developments have led to a fragmentation of the and Calantone 2002; Yu and Hang 2010); environ-
innovation literature, so that its present state is mental contingencies (Tidd 2001); the link between
characterized by many inconsistencies, competing innovation and national productivity (Denyer and
theoretical frameworks, diverse conceptualizations Neely 2004); new product development (Ernst
of the determinants of innovation, and knowledge 2002; Page and Schirr 2008); individual-level cog-
gaps (Andries and Debackere 2006; Fagerberg and nitive aspects of innovation (Anderson et al. 2004);
Verspargen 2009; Lam 2005). Many studies have the role of third parties in the innovation process
sought to understand the innovation process, but (Bogers et al. 2010; Howells 2006); the diffusion of
scholars have not yet been able to identify a clear innovations (ONeill et al. 1998); open innovation
prototypical process for the management of innova- (Dahlander and Gann 2010); networking (Pittaway
tion (Gupta et al. 2007). et al. 2004); the relationship between market
Second, the vast majority of innovation research orientation and innovation performance (De Luca
conducted on the organisational level of analysis et al. 2010); or the role of organisational size
has concentrated on three domains: (a) the identifi- (Camison-Zornoza et al. 2004).
cation of antecedents that affect the extent to which Unfortunately, very few of these reviews address
an organisation is successful at technical innova- the strategic management of innovation. Moreover,
tion; (b) studies of the development of new prod- few of these reviews pay specific attention to the
ucts and/or new businesses within the established organisational level of analysis. This seems problem-
organisation with a focus on ambidexterity; and (c) atic, since strategic management is fundamentally
the impact of interfirm linkages on various types of concerned with the major measures by which firms
organisational innovation (Gupta et al. 2007). This can achieve competitive advantage (Nag et al. 2007;
specificity seems problematic, since many questions Teece et al. 1997). A review on the strategic manage-
pertaining to the strategic management of innova- ment of innovation that focuses on the organisational
tion are still little understood, such as the relations level of analysis therefore seems highly desirable.
between innovation, resources and performance The purpose of this paper is to deliver a systematic

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 3

review of the literature on this topic in order to make (1992) and Wolfe (1994) considered for their
the following contributions: reviews. On the basis of this analysis, we are able to
identify several important theoretical inconsistencies
1. We provide the first comprehensive review on
and knowledge gaps, the resolution of which is likely
the strategic management of innovation since
to improve understanding of the strategic manage-
the reviews of Lengnick-Hall (1992) and Wolfe
ment of innovation. We discuss each gap and in-
(1994). Thus, this paper is an attempt to system-
consistency, and we contribute to advancing theory
atically chart out, on an organisational level of
and practice by suggesting how future research may
analysis, the theoretical conflicts, knowledge gaps
overcome them. Finally, the conclusion summarizes
and inconsistencies that exist in research on the
the findings, suggestions and contributions.
strategic management of innovation.
2. Based on the identification of these knowledge
gaps and inconsistencies in the current state of
the literature, we suggest promising paths for Methods
future research on the strategic management of
innovation. We undertake a systematic, quantitative review,
3. By identifying these gaps and inconsistencies consistent with recent suggestions that the methodo-
and by devising promising paths for future logical rigor of reviews of the management literature
research, we show how strategic management should be strengthened (e.g. Denyer and Neely 2004;
can benefit from integrating relevant findings Thorpe et al. 2005; Tranfield et al. 2003).
from the innovation field. As insights from the Our choice to review the innovation literature from
innovation field are typically recognized little a strategic management perspective entails two
in the strategic management field (e.g. Tahai selection decisions: First, we limit the review to
and Meyer 1999), this study should contribute double-blind reviewed journal articles published in
substantially to the understanding of the strate- this fields top-tier journals, as described further
gic management of innovation by spanning below.
the boundaries between the fields of strategic Second, we focus on the organisational level of
management and innovation. analysis, while we declare individual-level innova-
4. We make a major methodological contribution tion (e.g. creativity research) and industry- and/or
by introducing analytical methods that are fully meta-level research on innovation (e.g. technology
consistent with the systematic review method diffusion between industries) beyond our scope. This
(Tranfield et al. 2003) and deploy quantitative focus on the organizational level of analysis seems
techniques which to date have been used little justified, since strategic management is fundamen-
in literature review studies. This paper is among tally concerned with measures that firms use to
the very first to use the bibliometric technique of achieve competitive advantage (Nag et al. 2007;
co-word analysis (see, e.g. Bhattacharya and Basu Teece et al. 1997, emphasis added).
1998; Coulter et al. 1998; Ding et al. 2001) in this
context. This paper thus benefits from the valu-
able analytical insights which bibliometric and Data collection
lexicographic techniques can deliver (e.g. Furrer
We limited the review to non-invited peer-reviewed
et al. 2008; Nag et al. 2007; Nerur et al. 2008;
journal articles, omitting books, book chapters
Ramos-Rodrguez and Ruz-Navarro 2004).
and other non-refereed publications, because journal
5. By organizing and consolidating the literature
articles can be considered validated knowledge and
on the strategic management of innovation, this
are likely to have the highest impact on the field
study is likely to stimulate the emergence of
(Ordanini et al. 2008; Podsakoff et al. 2005; Ramos-
valuable insights for executives.
Rodriguez and Ruz-Navarro 2004). Established
To make these contributions, the paper proceeds as influential journals tend to shape the theoretical and
follows: After a description of the methods used to empirical work in a field by setting new horizons for
review the literature, we analyse 342 articles on the inquiry within their frame of reference (Furrer et al.
strategic management of innovation that have been 2008, p. 2). We therefore feel that this approach
published in the top-tier strategic management jour- provides an accurate and representative picture of
nals since 1992, the last year that Lengnick-Hall relevant scholarly research.

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
4 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

Since we intended to review the literature on the To classify which of these 3575 articles focused
strategic management of innovation, we focused on on both the strategic management of innovation and
the most influential journals in the strategic manage- an organizational level of analysis, six coders (the
ment field. These were identified using Podsakoff authors and three assistants) analysed the extent to
et al.s (2005) citation-based study of 28 renowned which (if any) the article focused on (1) the strategic
management journals as follows. First, we excluded management of innovation and (2) an organizational
the bottom 14 journals, as they have received fewer level of analysis, by rating each articles title and
than 20% of the citations that were made to the 28 abstract on separate four-point scales anchored at
journals in total over the period 19811999. Second, not at all and clearly (cf. Nag et al. 2007). Average
from the remaining top 14 journals, we selected Cohens kappas of 0.74 and 0.85 suggested strong
those that were considered representative and interrater agreement (Conger 1980).
highly relevant for the strategic management field We classified an article as relevant if the average
across a range of literature review articles which score across all coders was 3.0 or above on both
focus on strategic management (Franke et al. 1990; scales. 369 articles satisfied this requirement, and
Hutzschenreuter and Israel 2009; MacMillan 1991; these were forwarded to the third stage, in which we
Nielsen 2010; Park and Gordon 1996; Rashman looked at the number of citations each individual
et al. 2009; Tahai and Meyer 1999). Finally, follow- article received in order to maximize the relevance of
ing Nag et al. (2007), we decided to omit Harvard the set of articles. Rather than using an arbitrary
Business Review, since it has a primarily managerial cut-off point of how many citations an article had to
audience. It was replaced by Organization Science, receive (which would place newer articles at a disad-
which while not considered in Podsakoff et al.s vantage), we compared the number of citations each
(2005) analysis, represents a major publication outlet article received with the average number of citations
related to strategic management (Augier et al. 2005; received by articles appearing in the respective year
Nag et al. 2007). The review thus covers the follow- in the respective journal.1 We dropped those 27 arti-
ing journals: Academy of Management Journal, cles that received less than a quarter of the average
Academy of Management Review, Administrative citations for their journal and year (Podsakoff et al.
Science Quarterly, Journal of Management, Man- 2005). In other words, we dropped those articles that
agement Science, Organization Science and Strategic were less influential than an average article from
Management Journal. This wide range of journals journals that have considerably less influence on the
also allows us to provide a broad and deep analysis field than the journals we selected. Thus, 342 articles
given that prior reviews in the strategic management (see Appendix S1) remained for analysis.
field only considered subsets of these journals (e.g.
Furrer et al. 2008; Nag et al. 2007).
Data analysis
We used a three-stage selection process to identify
relevant articles from these journals. First, we First, we devised a two-tier review scheme for
searched all issues of these journals from 1992 to the systematic evaluation, in order to reduce subjective
last issue of 2010 that was available on-line on bias and enhance validity (Ginsberg and Venkatra-
July 26, 2010, using various electronic databases man 1985).
(Business Source Premier, JSTOR and the journals We used the seven elements in Nag et al.s (2007)
homepages). We chose 1992 as the cut-off point definition of strategic management to delineate the
for the past, because the prior literature is nicely domain, since this definition reflects scholars latent
summarized by Lengnick-Hall (1992) and Wolfe conception of the field and is therefore unlikely to be
(1994). The complete article count over all journals affected by subjective bias. Second, in order to mini-
and issues was 9173. mize subjective interpretation biases, the authors read
Consistent with prior approaches to identifying each of the 342 articles and independently analysed
relevant articles (cf. Nielsen 2010; Rashman et al. the research focus, data and methods, variables (if
2009; Thorpe et al. 2005; Tranfield et al. 2003), we applicable) and results. The individual assessments
performed keyword searches and retained those 3575 were then combined and synthesized. If there were
articles that contained the word innovation and/or
any of the phrases Research and Development, 1
As in Podsakoff et al. (2005), citation data for this study
Research & Development, R&D R & D, or R were obtained from the Institute for Scientific Information
and D in either their titles, abstracts or full texts. (ISI).

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 5

disagreements (which were few), the issue was dis- Ding et al. 2001; Leydesdorff 1989; Rodriguez et al.
cussed and resolved. This process yielded a coding 2007).
matrix which included all articles and provided infor- Next, we programmed an Excel macro in order to
mation for the subsequent analyses. Moreover, we produce a (224 224)-matrix with the 224 individual
performed a co-word analysis on the titles of all 342 words in the rows and the columns and the frequency
articles and used its results to run cluster analyses in of their co-occurrence in the respective cell. Sub-
order to identify clusters of related issues and topics. sequently, the absolute frequency values were trans-
We performed these analyses as follows. formed into a normalized measure of association
Co-word analysis is a content analysis technique between the two words using the cosine formula (e.g.
which reveals patterns in discourse by measuring Peters and van Raan 1993, p. 48):
the association strengths of terms representative of c
relevant publications produced in the corresponding Cij = ij
ci c j
field (Coulter et al. 1998, p. 1206). While this is
a well-established bibliometric method which has where ci is the frequency of the word in row i, cj
been used extensively (see Onyancha and Ocholla is the frequency of the word in column j, and cij
(2009) for an overview), management scholars have is the number of co-occurrences of these two words.
only recently begun to employ bibliometric and Cij is limited between 0 and 1, and functions as
lexicographic techniques (e.g. Furrer et al. 2008; the similarity measure for the cluster analysis. Since
Nag et al. 2007; Nerur et al. 2008). we used the econometric software package STATA
To perform the co-word analysis, we applied Vol. 11 to run the cluster analysis, we exported
the software package Bibexcel (Ramos-Rodriguez values of 1-Cij because STATA performs the cluster
and Ruz-Navarro 2004; Persson et al. 2009). First, analysis on a dissimilarity matrix (StataCorp. 2009,
we downloaded each articles full title from ISIs p. 95).
Web of Knowledge and imported it into Bibexcel. We performed the cluster analysis in several
We then instructed Bibexcel to create a file in steps. The number of clusters in each step was
which all the words from the articles titles were chosen on the basis of the DudaHart Je(2)/Je(1)
listed, together with an identification number of index, which has been identified as one of the best
the respective article. rules to determine the number of clusters (Milligan
Following standard practice among bibliometri- and Cooper 1985). Associated with the DudaHart
cians, we ran the co-word analysis using each arti- index is a pseudo-T2 value, and smaller pseudo-T2
cles title words (cf. Bhattacharya and Basu 1998; values indicate more distinct clustering (Duda et al.
Leydesdorff 1989; Onyancha and Ocholla 2009). 2001). To choose a cluster solution, we therefore
First, we deleted words of little substantive meaning compared the pseudo-T2 values for the solutions
(such as and, the and many prepositions) and consisting of 230 clusters.
reduced words to their stems in order to consolidate First, we performed a single-linkage cluster
different variants of the same word (cf. Rokaya et al. analysis to detect outliers (cf. Flanagan et al. 2008;
2008; Tseng et al. 2008; van den Besselaar and Marchette 2004). Seven words were detected as
Heimeriks 2006). The resulting list was then checked outliers and deleted. On the remaining 217 words,
manually to eliminate remaining inconsistencies we performed the final cluster analysis using
(such as different spellings). After Bibexcel was Wards method, which is consistent with the cosine
instructed to treat multiple occurrences of a word measure of the strength of co-word association
within the same title as a single occurrence, the (cf. Lee and Jeong 2008; Leydesdorff 1989). The
software calculated the frequency with which the individual clusters from the 25 cluster solution are
consolidated words occurred across the 342 titles. shown in Figure 1.2 Note that cluster membership is
Keeping those words that occurred more than twice mutually exclusive; i.e. each word is a member of
across the titles (cf. Ding et al. 2001), Bibexcel only one cluster.
finally calculated the frequency with which both We further used the coding matrix to create the
elements of individual word pairs appeared together following tables: Table 1 presents a detailed account
in the same titles. We then exported the two fre- of where and when the 342 reviewed articles were
quency lists of occurrences and co-occurrences,
respectively, to MS Excel in order to prepare a cluster 2
A dendrogram for this cluster solution is available from the
analysis based on these results (e.g. Courtial 1994; corresponding author upon request.

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
6 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

Cluster 1 Innovation (96), multinational (4), control (5), approaches (5), subsidiaries (3), contingency (4),
corporate (13)
Cluster 2 Response (4), optic (3), search (9), local (3), incentives (4)
Cluster 3 Comparison (3), renewal (4), adaptation (6), centralization (3), cognition (5)
Cluster 4 Multiple (3), integration (19), process (16), understanding (3), efficiency (3), framework (6), cost
(7), interorganizational (3), transfer (3), constraints (3), leadership (5), organization (53),
international (5), diversification (7), institutional (5), implementation (3), influence (7),
heterogeneity (7), adoption (7), intensity (5)
Cluster 5 Creative (3), work (3), problem (5), solving (3), agent (4), multi (5)
Cluster 6 Diffusion (3), leverage (6), external (9), competence (6), incremental (3), acquisition (16), internal
(6), technology (74), method (3)
Cluster 7 Spillovers (3), information (6), radical (3), knowledge (37), benefits (5), model (17), under (3),
sequential (4), telecommunications (5), evolution (10), customer (5), strategic (53), open (4),
change (19), standards (4), retail (3)
Cluster 8 Introduction (5), industry (45), computer (4), financial (4), inventions (4), evidence (17),
appropriation (4), global (3), system (5), pharmaceutical (13), asymmetric (5), commercialization
(4), complexity (5)
Cluster 9 Position (6), patterns (4), service (3), pioneering (4), profitability (5), matter (3), emergence (5),
competition (27), high (10), line (3), advantage (18), market (22)
Cluster 10 Application (4), concept (6), empirical (13), measuring (3), specific (3), test (7)
Cluster 11 Project (10), uncertainty (4), explaining (3), design (9), entry (8), timing (8), flexibility (4),
imitation (6), sustained (8), early (3), experience (5), survival (8), modularity (4), persistence (4),
large (3), learning (13)
Cluster 12 U.S. (3), decisions (3), capital (4), firm (69), investment (13), complementarity (4), Japan (5),
ventures (9), implications (7), performance (48), R&D (30), China (4), case (7), ownership (3)
Cluster 13 Resource (16), view (3), manufacturing (14), base (14)
Cluster 14 Patent (6), electronic (4), research (5), diversity (4), impact (11), science (5), geographic (3),
biotechnology (10)
Cluster 15 Real (4), non (4), options (4)
Cluster 16 Paradoxes (3), portfolio (7), outsourcing (3), new (35), product (61), use (4), balancing (3),
boundary (5), automobile (3), supply (3), development (40), management (24)
Cluster 17 Driven (3), failure (3), economic (4), success (3)
Cluster 18 Moderating (6), social (4), differentiation (8), environment (11), ambidexterity (7), role (22),
interaction (4), exploration (20), exploitation (13), effect (26), dynamic (20), outcomes (5),
antecedents (5)
Cluster 19 Relationship (14), contract (3), formal (3), mechanisms (3), governance (6)
Cluster 20 Formation (5), collaboration (9), dual (3), linkage (4), network (14)
Cluster 21 Complementary (8), startups (6), cooperation (5), asset (8), interfirm (4), modes (4), incumbent
Cluster 22 Building (3), value (8), creation (11), generation (4), determinants (4), partner (6), cross (4),
alliance (21), affect (7), interdependence (3), behaviour (4), structure (16)
Cluster 23 Improvement (5), longitudinal (3), quality (4), software (6), activities (10), study (13)
Cluster 24 Selection (5), drug (3), scale (3), returns (3), absorptive (3), capacity (4)
Cluster 25 Medium (3), small (4), enterprises (4)

Figure 1. Cluster analysis of the title words of all 342 articlesa,b,c

Notes: aBased on Wards method and the cosine formula to measure the strength of co-word association.
Words were reduced to their stems in order to consolidate different variants of the same word. To improve readability, we do not report
the word stems, but replaced the word stems by their most common full variant (cf. Nag et al. 2007, p. 941).
Cluster membership is mutually exclusive; i.e. each word is a member of only one cluster. Yet, that a word is assigned to a particular
cluster does not mean that the titles use this word exclusively in the particular context represented by this cluster: While the cluster
solution is based on the strength of co-word association, words belonging to different clusters need not have an association strength of
zero. The reported frequency counts cover occurrences across all contexts in which the respective word has been used. To illustrate, the
term innovation (occurring 96 times) appears also in the title of articles that are not concerned with multinational issues, a term that
is in the same cluster as innovation (Cluster 1)

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 7

Table 1. Number of articles and frequency analysis by journal source and yeara


19921993 2 2 1 15 2 2 24
19941995 1 3 2 3 6 4 1 20
19961997 3 2 6 2 11 7 3 34
19981999 3 1 1 12 2 5 24
20002001 1 5 1 1 12 6 8 34
20022003 1 3 1 16 12 8 41
20042005 1 1 6 20 6 3 37
20062007 2 12 1 18 16 7 56
20082009 7 2 14 22 12 57
2010 1 11 1 2 15
Total 14 36 11 17 135 78 51 342
% of all articles in the journal 1.11 2.84 1.04 1.93 10.39 3.16 5.47 3.73

AMR = Academy of Management Review; AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; JOM =
Journal of Management; SMJ = Strategic Management Journal; MS = Management Science; OS = Organization Science.

Table 2. Types of innovation studied by all 342 articlesa cluster covers4 and on the frequency with which these
Innovation type Number of words appear across all titles of the 342 articles
times covered sampled (note that multiple occurrences within the
same title were only counted once). For example,
Technical innovation, thereof: 246
product innovation 122 only three out of 342 titles (0.88%)5 contain the term
service innovation 4 constraints in any version using its word stem (see
process innovation 11 note b to Figure 1), suggesting that scant attention
creative destruction 3 has been devoted to this issue. To validate such
Administrative innovation, thereof: 25
claims, we triangulate these cluster analysis data with
strategic reorientation 9
organizational change/transformation 7 the diverse frequency counts and analyses reported in
Research and Development 18 Tables 16. We only claim that such a gap exists if
Exploration and exploitation 25 both the cluster analysis and at least one of the tables
Mixed (technical and administrative innovation) 28 suggest that this issue is underrepresented.
Total 342

Counts on the same level are mutually exclusive; top-level counts
are exhaustive. Paths for future research
The results from the cluster analysis and tabulations
published. Table 2 provides the type of innovation of variables suggested that multiple knowledge gaps
on which each article focuses. Table 3 gives the and theoretical inconsistencies exist, all of which
dependent variables that the 223 quantitative studies restrict knowledge about the strategic management
among the 342 articles have employed, while Table 4 of innovation. In the following, we explicate these
tabulates the independent variables.3 Table 5 lists the and make suggestions on how future research may
analytical methods that each article has adopted, and overcome them. These discussions are structured
Table 6 summarizes the industries that were studied according to Nag et al.s (2007) seven elements that
by the 248 empirical articles. constitute scholars implicit, consensual definition of
the strategic management field. Using bibliometric
analyses, Nag et al. (2007, pp. 942, 947) show that
Data interpretation the field of strategic management comprises seven
To present findings and identify research gaps, we major thematic aspects: (a) the major intended and
used information on the particular words that each
A descriptive substantive appraisal of the cluster analysis is
available from the corresponding author upon request.
3 5
Some concepts are listed in both Table 3 and Table 4, as a As each title typically consists of more than one word, the
particular concept might be considered as an antecedent in percentage measures of the individual words do not add up
one model and as the outcome in another. to 100%.

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
8 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

Table 3. Dependent variables employed by the 223 articles that Table 4. Independent variables employed by the 223 articles that
use a quantitative measurement modela,b use a quantitative measurement modela,b
Dependent variable Number of Independent variable Number of
times used times used

Intended and emergent initiatives: Intended and emergent initiatives:

R&D investment/spending 25
Measures of ambidexterity (exploration and 11
Technological pioneering/first-mover strategy 19
exploitation) Measures of ambidexterity (exploration and exploitation) 17
Knowledge sourcing 9 Knowledge sourcing 10
Technology sourcing 6 Technology sourcing 10
Product-market strategy 8 Appropriation strategy 1
Internationalization strategy 2 Manufacturing strategy 4
Product-market strategy 38
Inter-firm collaboration:
Market entry mode 13
Co-operative agreements 6 Internationalization strategy 11
Agreement characteristics 5 Competitive strategy 2
Network characteristics 3 Inter-firm collaboration:
Co-operation timing 1 Co-operative agreements 21
Problems of alliances 2 Experience with co-operation 8
Acquisition and divestiture 4 Characteristics of alliance or co-operative network 26
Characteristics of partners (e.g. size, innovativeness) 11
R&D investment/spending 10
Problems of alliances (dependence, partner availability) 2
Market entry mode 6 Number of patents 10
Other 6 Patent quality 6
Internal organization: New product development strategy 22
Multinational organization 2 Product characteristics 10
Administrative organization 9 Process innovation 6
Structural integration 3 Process characteristics 4
Economic/technological significance of innovation 19
Organizational climate 2
Time-to-market 2
Managerial and ownership issues: Acquisition and divestiture 4
Human resources practices 3 Other 30
Resources: Internal organization:
Intangible resources (e.g. capabilities) 13 Organizational design 27
Tangible assets 1 Structural integration 7
Financial resources 1 Organizational culture 15
Firm size 18
Human Resources 3
Firm age 6
Performance: Managerial and ownership issues:
Patenting: Human resources practices 8
Patent output 22 Ownership issues 10
Patent quality 9 Process management issues 9
Technical innovation 7 Barriers to innovation (other than resource constraints) 6
Product innovation 30 Resources:
Prior firm performance 24
Product quality 8
Productivity 2
Service innovation 4 Intangible resources (e.g. knowledge and capabilities) 48
Process innovation 3 Resource creation 3
Administrative innovation 1 Human Resources 23
Other criteria: Financial resources 18
Economic/technological significance of innovation 26 Book value of assets 4
Time-to-market/innovation speed/time-to-imitation 10 Tangible assets 5
Resource slack 7
Other 6 Complementary assets 7
Financial performance 48 Other 2
Market performance 30 Environment:
Business survival/firm exit 13 Time 7
Productivity 8 Location 9
Growth 2 Economic and technological factors 3
Alliance performance (including divestiture of 3 Political factors 2
Culture 2
alliance) Sector/industry affiliation 4
Environment: Technological intensity of sector 6
Competitor response to firm initiative 2 Competition 26
Other 2 Uncertainty 10
Turnover of industry 6
a Speed of technological development of industry 8
The table only contains those articles that employ a quantitative Availability of resources in industry 3
measurement model. Counts are not mutually exclusive, since a Appropriability 2
particular study may have more than one dependent variable. (Lead) user characteristics 2
The top-level categories in this table correspond to Nag et al.s (2007) Technological threats (technological shock) 3
Technology characteristics 15
definition of strategic management, to which we refer in the text.
aThe table only contains those articles that employ a quantitative measurement

model. Counts are not mutually exclusive, since a particular study may have
more than one independent variable.
bThe top-level categories in this table correspond to Nag et al.s (2007) definition

of strategic management, to which we refer in the text.

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International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 9

Table 5. Analytical methods used by all 342 articlesa Table 6. Industries analyzed by 223 quantitative and 25
qualitative articlesa
Method Number of
times used Industry Number of
times used
Conceptual methods:
Theory paper 42 Studies of industries classified according to their
Literature review 4 technological intensity:
High-technology industries:
Introduction to special issue 2
21: Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and 17
Content analysis 3
pharmaceutical preparations
Meta analysis 1
26: Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical 44
Mathematical and simulation models: products
Mathematical modeling (including game 38 72: Scientific research and development (here: 16
theoretic modeling) biotechnology*)
Simulation model 9 Various high-tech industries (as classified by the authors 7
Qualitative methods: 46 of the respective articles)*
Quantitative methods: Medium-high-technology industries:
Simple OLS regression 42 20: Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products 6
Mean difference test 10 27: Manufacture of electrical equipment 1
Logistic regression 16 28: Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. 2
Descriptive analysis onlyb 2 29: Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and 5
Panel regression (includes Poisson, logit, 68 semi-trailers
probit, etc.) Medium-low-technology industries:
23: Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral 1
Confirmatory factor analysis 25
Tobit regression analysis 7
25: Manufacture of fabricated products, except 2
Survival time analysis 24 machinery and equipment
Time series 4 30: Manufacture of other transport equipment 3
Event sequence method 1 Low-technology industries:
Hierarchical regression 16 31: Manufacture of furniture 1
Structural equation model 15 32: Other manufacturing 5
Cluster analysis 3 Studies of other industries*:
Analysis of variance (ANOVA, ANCOVA, 9 Transportation and storage:
MANOVA, Variance components analysis) 51: Air transport 3
Multinomial logistic regression 5 Accommodation and food service activities:
Probit regression 6 56: Food and beverage service activities 2
Negative binomial regression 11 Information and communication
Moderated regression 3 58: Publishing activities 9
Heckman regression model 1 60: Programming and broadcasting activities 2
Poisson regression 2 61: Telecommunications 6
Financial and insurance activities:
Partial least squares regression 2
64: Financial service activities, except insurance and 9
Simultaneous equation model 4
pension funding
Contingency tables 1
65: Insurance, reinsurance and pension funding, 2
Other 11 except compulsory social security
66: Activities auxiliary to financial services and 1
Counts are not mutually exclusive because one article may apply insurance activities
more than one method (e.g. OLS regression analysis and a mean Professional, scientific and technical activities:
difference test). 69: Legal and accounting activities 1
This category includes articles that use correlation analysis, per- 74: Other professional, scientific and technical 6
centages or indicators, and exploratory factor analysis without activities
subsequent quantitative estimation techniques. Studies across industries or without industry
Cross-industry 92
Industry-classification not applicable 2
emergent initiatives taken (b) and the internal organi- Not specified 3
zation adopted (c) by general managers on behalf of Total 248
owners (d) involving utilization of resources (e) to a
Counts are mutually exclusive. The index accompanying each industry is
enhance the performance (f) of firms (g) in their this industrys two-digit NACE 2008 classification (Eurostat 2008). Indus-
external environments. tries marked with an asterisk (*) cannot be assigned to the OECD Science,
The first definitional element, the major intended Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2007 classification (OECD 2007).
The final selection of articles in this table was determined by subtracting
and emergent initiatives taken, is concerned with the any literature reviews, introductions to special issues, articles containing
means, measures and activities by which firms aim to meta-analyses, theoretical, mathematical and simulation models from the
induce performance improvements. In Nag et al.s total article count of 342.

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International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
10 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

(2007) analysis, it is represented by means such as Intended and emergent initiatives

strategy, acquisition and diversification, which
are typically characterized by substantial deliberate Inter-firm governance and performance. The
planning, but it also includes means such as learn- choice of collaborative governance mechanisms such
ing, which tend to exhibit a strong emergent as R&D alliances (e.g. Hagedoorn 1993; Sampson
component. The second element of the definition, the 2007), joint ventures (e.g. Keil et al. 2008; Oxley and
internal organization adopted, is represented by Wada 2009) or open innovation (e.g. Chesbrough
words such as practices, structure, process, 2006) is frequently addressed in the literature
organizing and behaviour. The third element, by reviewed. The cluster analysis suggest a strong
general managers on behalf of owners, which is representation of terms indicating an inter-firm
represented by terms such as CEO, top, directors relationship (such as relationship, collaboration,
and boards, illustrates that the upper echelons and network, co-operation and alliance). Clusters
governing bodies of companies are the key actors on 1922 are exclusively concerned with inter-firm
whom strategy research focuses its attention. Moreo- governance, with subtopics such as the governance
ver, words such as agencyand ownershipshow that of the relationship (Cluster 19), the formation of
owners assume primacy over any other stakeholders. a collaboration (Cluster 20) and the structure of
The fourth definitional element, involving utilization an alliance (Cluster 22), while Cluster 21 suggests
of resources, pertains to the resources that managers that the access to complementary assets may be a
use in their strategic initiatives; these are represented common motive to co-operate. Further, Table 4
by words such as capability, knowledge, assets shows that a total of 68 independent variables are
and financial. The fifth element, to enhance the related to inter-firm collaborations.
performance, indicates that outcomes such as Still, important knowledge gaps remain. First, the
growth, returns, performance and advantage cluster analysis shows that relatively little attention
are of primary interest to strategic management schol- has been devoted to the performance consequences
ars. The sixth definitional element, of firms, reflects of such collaborations. From four clusters concerned
the focal unit of analysis of strategic management, with inter-firm collaborations, only Cluster 22 con-
which is represented by words such as firm, enter- tains words that relate to performance implications.
prise, multibusiness and strategic business unit. Table 3 substantiates the finding that little attention
Finally, the seventh element, in their external envi- has been devoted to the performance implications of
ronments, is represented by words such as market, inter-firm governance modes by showing that only
competition and industry on the one hand, which three of the reviewed articles (Oxley and Wada 2009;
refer to the business environment of a firm, and by Sobrero and Roberts 2001; Vassolo et al. 2004)
words such as environment, uncertainty and con- measure such performance outcomes. This underrep-
tingency on the other hand, which indicate a poten- resentation is disturbing, given that most innovation-
tially broader external context. related collaborations between firms actually fail to
As these seven elements constitute the very meet their targets and do not live up to expectations,
essence of the strategic management field (Nag et al. irrespective of the particular mode of collaboration
2007, p. 938), they are useful for structuring the (Bleeke and Ernst 1993; Inkpen and Ross 2001;
identification of promising opportunities for future Keasler and Denning 2009; Lang and Stulz 1994;
research on the strategic management of innovation. Park and Ungson 2001; Sadowski and Duysters
Overcoming research gaps related to the seven ele- 2008). As a result of this gap, the reasons for this
ments is likely to generate knowledge which contrib- widespread underperformance or failure of inter-
utes essentially to a better understanding of the firm governance mechanisms in the context of R&D
strategic management of innovation. We therefore and innovation are not well known. From a theoreti-
use these seven elements to structure the identifica- cal perspective, it would therefore be desirable to
tion of paths for future research.6 develop an understanding of the mechanisms by
which innovation-related collaborations lead to posi-
tive outcomes, e.g. by hypothesizing about how and
Since we limited the review to articles that focus on an why performance differentials are associated with
organizational level of analysis, the sixth definitional
element (of firms) is already implicit in the selection specific types of inter-firm governance. For example,
of relevant articles. The subsequent structure, therefore, the relationship between complementarities among
comprises only six elements. organisational structures, resources and innovation

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 11

strategies, on the one hand, and collaboration per- claim that the type of appropriation strategy that a
formance, on the other hand, could be studied. None firm chooses is associated with its performance.
of the studies reviewed has yet addressed such ques- Therefore, studies that would explore under which
tions, which are nevertheless highly relevant from a internal and external conditions firms select a par-
strategic management perspective. ticular appropriation strategy and how (if at all)
Second, the cluster analysis reveals that research these external and internal conditions interact are
interest in particular subtopics of inter-firm collabo- highly desirable, particularly so in an international
rations seems to be quite fragmented, as almost all context where foreign firms must adapt their appro-
terms in Clusters 1922 that capture such subtopics priation strategies to local appropriability conditions
exhibit a relatively low count (exceptions are struc- (e.g. Keupp et al. 2010).
ture, which occurs 16 times, i.e. across 4.68% of
the titles, and, to some extent, the role of comple- Neglected types of innovation. It is essential to
mentary assets, appearing eight times or in 2.34% of delve deeper into the black box of innovative proc-
all titles). Accordingly, Tables 3 and 4 suggest that esses to understand both their content and the forces
the problems and hazards of inter-firm collaborations that drive them (Gallouj and Weinstein 1997). The
in the context of innovation have rarely been results of the cluster analysis as well as Tables 24
addressed. This neglect seems problematic not only consistently suggest that this call has been addressed
because the high failure rates imply that such prob- little to date and that relatively few articles focus on
lems persist, but also because those firms that depend the strategic management of process innovations,
most on alliances tend to be particularly affected by administrative innovations and service innovations.
opportunistic behaviour of and exploitation by their While the word product (Cluster 16) occurs across
partners (Dickson et al. 2006; Miles et al. 1999). We 61 titles (17.84%), the word service (Cluster 9)
believe that it would be interesting to deepen the is only part of three titles (0.88%); the count of
knowledge about how firms respond to these hazards. manufacturing (Cluster 13) is almost five times as
Scholars could hypothesise on how and why organi- high. Few titles (1.17% and 1.75%, respectively)
sational behaviour within co-operative agreements comprise the terms renewal and adaptation
may affect these hazards and use outcome constructs (Cluster 3) which can refer to administrative innova-
that capture the problems and risks of inter-firm gov- tions (e.g. Bartlett and Ghoshal 1993; Sastry 1997).
ernance. An example for such an approach is the The higher count of the word process (Cluster 4),
study of Schilling and Steensma (2002), who find which is contained in 16 titles (4.68%), is somewhat
that the threat of experiencing opportunism in an offset since this word can be used to designate at
inter-firm relationship affects the mode by which least two fundamentally different phenomena:
firms govern this relationship. process innovations and the innovation process.
Table 3 illustrates that, in comparison with the 38
Appropriation and performance. Appropriation dependent variables that are related to product inno-
strategies describe the measures taken by a firm to vation, very few dependent variables focus on
capture value from its innovations (Ceccagnoli process (3 occurrences), administrative (1) or service
2009, p. 82). Firms which first introduce an innova- innovations (4). Table 2 corroborates these analyses
tion are not necessarily those that profit most from by showing that relatively few of the 342 reviewed
it (Teece 1986). Since a major focus of strategic articles have focused on these types of innovations.
management research is to explain performance The relative neglect of process innovations seems
differences between firms (Bryson and Bromiley problematic, since these are vital for generating
1993), the question of what firms can do to maxi- returns from an introduced product, albeit at different
mize returns from innovation is highly relevant. stages of its life cycle (Utterback 1994; Utterback
However, Cluster 8, which addresses the issues of and Abernathy 1975). For example, the increase in
introduction, commercialization and appropriation, the competitiveness of Japanese firms since the
indicates that appropriation strategies might have 1980s can be attributed to their proficiency in process
received very little attention, as the word appropria- innovations (Bhoovaraghavan et al. 1996). Thus, a
tion appears in only four out of 342 titles (1.17%). deeper understanding of how firms can strategically
Tables 3 and 4 suggest that, from all the 342 studies manage process innovations would be desirable.
in the sample, only that of Ceccagnoli (2009) With the exception of Macher (2006) and Tyre and
addresses this question. He finds support for his Hauptman (1992), who both confirm an associa-

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
12 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

tion between process innovation complexity and size service and manufacturing innovation (e.g.
working outcomes, validated empirical knowledge Coombs and Miles 2000; Drejer 2004; Gallouj and
on the strategic management of process innovations Weinstein 1997).
is very scarce. Research is also needed regarding the
questions of how process innovations are generated Deliberate non-innovation. Another important area
and how and why their performance differs, particu- where theoretical inconsistencies exist is defined by
larly since antecedents that may promote product the case of non-innovating firms, i.e. firms that
innovation do not necessarily also spur process inno- deliberately do not innovate (e.g. Iwamura and Jog
vations (He and Wong 2004). 1991). Using data from the EUs community inno-
Antecedents that determine scope and extent of vation survey, Roper (1997) finds that the fraction of
administrative innovation are very different from non-innovators ranges from 5.3% for large firms in
those that determine scope and extent of technical Germany to 44.0% for small firms in the UK. These
innovation (Aiken et al. 1980; Damanpour 1991; data seem to shed some doubt on the assertion that
Evan and Black 1967; Kimberly and Evanisko 1981). innovation is paramount for the generation of com-
These differences may signal that different decision- petitive advantage and firm survival (Banbury and
making mechanisms and resource allocation rules Mitchell 1995; Bayus and Agarwal 2007; Cefis and
exist for administrative, as opposed to technical, Marsili 2006; DAveni 1994; Porter 1990). As a
innovations (cf. Daft 1978). For decades, there have consequence of these surprising findings, the EUs
been repeated calls for a better understanding of Community Innovation Survey questionnaire has
administrative innovation (Arrow 1971; Chandler been extended by pilot modules which attempt to
1977; Cole 1968; Drazin and Schoonhoven 1996; explore the reasons for non-innovation (e.g. Robson
Mezias and Glynn 1993; Williamson 1983); how- and Haigh 2008); however, this evidence is prelimi-
ever, our findings suggest that these have not been nary and descriptive only. Yet, both the cluster ana-
answered sufficiently so far. Since organisational lysis and the tables suggest that none of the articles
structure and control systems which are altered by in the sample discussed this issue. We believe that
administrative innovation are important for organi- the understanding of the strategic management of
sational survival (Tushman and Romanelli 1985) and innovation can be deepened considerably if these
firm performance (Virany et al. 1992), research that issues are studied, and research may take advantage
would study the relationship between the manipula- of the forthcoming EU data to look for empirical
tion of organisational structures and control systems evidence.
by administrative innovation, on the one hand, and
the performance implications of this manipulation, Internal organisation
on the other hand, seems highly desirable.
Finally, service innovation has been studied very Ambiguity in the causal relationship between
little in the strategic management literature. Some internal organisation and innovation. The internal
pioneering work exists, e.g. the formal economics- organisation determines how resources are allocated
based attempt of Gallouj and Weinstein (1997) to within a firm, what internal routines are used, what the
build a theory of innovation that explains service communication networks look like, and how informa-
innovation, or the pioneering article of Tether (2005) tion and tasks flow (Chandler 1962; Galunic and
who provides mostly descriptive evidence of service Eisenhardt 1996; Helfat and Eisenhardt 2004; Karim
innovation within the EU. However, the strategic 2009; Levitt and March 1988). It therefore affects the
management literature has not yet referred to this efficiency with which existing resources can be used
work or attempted to use these foundations to elabo- (Zahra and Nielsen 2002) and further provides a
rate on their propositions and to test theory by context for strategic choices (Lefebvre et al. 1997).
hypothesis-driven, large-sample studies of service Thus, the internal organisation of a firm is likely to
innovation. We believe that such research would be be associated with the quantity and quality of the
promising for the strategic management field, espe- innovations it produces and the innovation policy it
cially since longstanding theoretical debates persist pursues (e.g. Argyres and Silverman 2004; Jansen
between the demarcation view that emphasizes the et al. 2006; Lefebvre et al. 1997; Terziovski 2010;
dynamic and fluid nature of service innovation as Zahra and Nielsen 2002). Thus, internal organisation
opposed to manufacturing innovation, the critics of is an important topic in research on the strategic
this view, and a third approach which tries to synthe- management of innovation, especially since a firms

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 13

choices of how to structure its internal organisation Managerial and ownership issues
represent some of the most powerful strategic levers
available to the top management of the modern Implementation of innovation. Implementation
corporation (Gulati et al. 2009, p. 575). designates the process of gaining targeted employ-
The internal organisation of firms influences ees appropriate and committed actions towards the
innovatory outcomes, but it is also affected by initiative (Klein and Sorra 1996). Firm performance
these outcomes, since innovation evokes a continu- is not only driven by appropriate initiatives, but also
ing need for organisational adaptation (Lengnick- by how these are implemented. The problems that
Hall 1992, p. 423). Consequently, the causal paths managers face during implementation are considered
between internal organisation and innovatory out- a pivotal cause for the inability of many organi-
comes may be everything but linear, evoking the sations to achieve the intended benefits of the inno-
need for longitudinal and endogeneity-controlling vations they adopt (Dougherty 2001; Klein and Sorra
research designs. Heterogeneity attributable to 1996; Repenning 2002).
between-period, rather than within-period variation Despite this relevance, the cluster analysis
should be controlled for when theoretical relation- and Table 4 consistently suggest that the strategic
ships are postulated and tested, such that anteced- management literature has neglected the question
ents can be clearly separated from outcomes of of how firms innovatory concepts may be imple-
innovatory activities (Eisenhardt and Tabrizi 1995; mented successfully. The words implementation
Lengnick-Hall 1992). However, our analysis shows and leadership (Cluster 4) appear only three and
that extant empirical literature which focuses on the five times, respectively, across all 342 titles (0.88%
internal organisation in the context of innovation and 1.46%, respectively), and most other clusters do
has hardly deployed longitudinal designs. not relate to such issues. The nine entries in the
The low frequency count for the word longitu- category process management issues in Table 4
dinal (Cluster 23), which appears in only three shed only a little light on this issue.
titles (0.88%) contrasts with the fact that 97 of the While there are a few conceptual articles and
342 articles reviewed (28.36%) use longitudinal qualitative case studies on innovation implementa-
quantitative methods such as survival time or panel tion, empirical evidence is largely missing. Conse-
regression analyses (cf. Table 5). However, when quently, there have been repeated calls to study the
we reviewed these 97 articles in terms of their implementation of innovation (Klein and Sorra 1996;
variables, we found that these are scattered very Repenning 2002), but the analysis suggests that few
unevenly across the topics depicted by the entries in studies have addressed this issue, such that important
Tables 3 and 4.7 Very little attention has been paid questions remain unanswered.
to issues such as organisational design (e.g. Zahra For example, impediments to innovation may exist
and Nielsen 2002), whereas product-market strat- within the firm or be induced from the firms environ-
egy, R&D investments, and the number of patents ment, and these are likely to stall the implementation
are relatively frequently examined.8 We therefore of innovatory activities or even lead to their complete
believe that future innovation research should seek abandonment (Baldwin and Lin 2002; Galia and
to retest extant theoretical relationships between Legros 2004). Thus, such obstacles are highly likely
internal organisation and innovation using longitu- to have a substantial impact on firm performance. One
dinal datasets and methods. promising path for future research could therefore be
to study the negative performance implications (if
any) of different types of impediments, and, on this
basis, to propose managerial actions that are likely to
To this end, we reproduced Tables 3 and 4 considering only mitigate or remove such impediments. For example,
those articles that use a longitudinal quantitative method.
These focused tables are available from the corresponding Shane et al. (1995) find that firms that have an
author upon request. uncertainty-avoiding workforce might benefit when
This skewed distribution might explain why the term lon- they employ an innovation-championing strategy
gitudinal is used in only three titles despite the fact that the which relies on norms, rules and procedures. The low
sample comprises a considerable share of longitudinal count of constraints (Cluster 4), appearing in only
analyses: There are some topics in which this kind of ana-
lysis is relatively common, so that a reference to this method three titles (0.88%), and the low count of barriers to
does little to distinguish this article from other articles on innovation in Table 4 consistently suggest that such
this topic. research is yet an exception.

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
14 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

Influence of ownership structure on innovation assessment as the 223 quantitative articles use 108
strategy. Over the last 20 years, the traditional resource-related independent variables.
model of innovating entrepreneurs that create and For instance, applying a firms knowledge to
control their firm (Schumpeter 1934) has been chal- emergent opportunities in its environment can lead
lenged by the evolution of novel forms of owner- to the generation of innovative output (Wadhwa and
ship. For example, large pension funds and other Kotha 2006) and tangible assets can influence the
institutional investors have extended and intensified strategic options that a firm is likely to pursue with
their operations globally (e.g. Hoskisson et al. 2002; regard to innovation, e.g. regarding outsourcing
Kochhar and David 1996). Another important and inter-firm collaboration (Nair 1995; Novak
development is the emergence of holdings and and Stern 2008; Robertson and Gatignon 1998).
conglomerates that consist of large numbers of sub- However, crucial knowledge gaps with regard to
sidiaries and affiliated companies that the holding resources remain. For instance, Clusters 7 and 13 do
or conglomerate controls (e.g. Chang et al. 2006; not point directly at specific initiatives and proc-
Feinberg and Gupta 2004). As different types of esses that may play a role in managing resources for
owners may differ with respect to investment innovatory purposes. This fact indicates that little
horizon, risk aversion, diversification plans and evidence is available regarding how specific initia-
return aspirations (Thomsen and Pedersen 2000), tives and processes can contribute to resource crea-
ownership structure is likely to affect the firms tion. Table 4 shows that only three articles include
innovatory activities (Hoskisson et al. 2002; an independent variable which captures resource
Kochhar and David 1996). For instance, Kochhar creation directly (Collins and Smith 2006; Hult
and David (1996) find that firms controlled by and Ketchen 2001; Robertson and Gatignon 1998).
so-called pressure-resistant institutions have a Table 3 shows that, compared with the count of
higher rate of new product announcements than resource-related independent variables, resource-
firms that are controlled by pressure-sensitive insti- related dependent variables are underrepresented.
tutions. Hoskisson et al. (2002) observe that public From the few articles that do use such a dependent
pension funds prefer firms that they control to inno- variable, only a small fraction (e.g. Choo et al.
vate internally only (i.e. without collaboration with 2007; Danneels 2008) shed light on particular
other firms), while professional investment funds initiatives and processes by which firms can develop
prefer external innovation, i.e. collaborative innova- resources for innovatory purposes. To date, only
tion with other firms and institutions. these few articles undertake to expand knowledge
While such questions should be highly relevant to about the creation of resources for innovatory pur-
the strategic management of innovation, the analysis poses beyond the well-established point that invest-
suggests that they have received little attention to ing in particular resources may enhance a firms
date. The cluster analysis illustrates that only three corresponding resource endowments (e.g. Hender-
titles (0.88%) contain the term ownership (Cluster son and Cockburn 1994; Yeoh and Roth 1999).9
12) and that most clusters do not refer to related This neglect seems problematic for two inter-
issues, while Table 4 shows that only eight of the 223 connected reasons: first, firms are heterogeneous
quantitative articles include an independent variable with respect to their resource endowments, and
related to ownership structure. Thus, future research
could focus on studying ownership structure as an 9
This claim may be partially qualified by the fact that inno-
important antecedent to the understanding of how vation sometimes implies resource creation. For instance, a
and why firms choose and implement particular firm that is granted a patent has typically been successful at
innovation-related initiatives. generating new knowledge (e.g. Hall et al. 2005). Thus,
studies that deal with the question of how firms can produce
innovations and patents may address resource creation (if
Resource utilization inadvertently). However, this implicit resource creation is
likely to pertain to certain resources (particularly knowledge)
Resource development. The cluster analysis sug- only, and the extent to which resource creation is implied by
gests that the topic resources plays a major role in innovation can vary substantially across innovative out-
the reviewed literature, as 16 titles (4.68%) contain comes. Therefore, we still believe that too little attention has
been devoted to the creation of resources for innovatory
the word resource (Cluster 13) itself; moreover, 37 purposes. This assessment is consistent with Bowman and
titles (10.82%) refer to the intangible resource Colliers (2006) finding that little attention has been devoted
knowledge (Cluster 7). Table 4 corroborates this to resource creation in general.

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 15

resources may be highly specific to the particular For instance, the method of using patent counts to
firm (Barney 1991; Crook et al. 2008); second, gauge a firms innovativeness has a number of limi-
resources that the firm requires but which cannot be tations. Patenting may be driven by tactical motives,
acquired in factor markets will have to be developed such as an improved bargaining position in licensing
by the firm itself in an often lengthy process negotiations, and thus may not be directly related to
(Dierickx and Cool 1989; Teece et al. 1997). Since the firms innovatory activities (Blind et al. 2006;
firms are therefore to some degree stuck with what Cohen et al. 2000). Moreover, not all inventions are
they have and may have to live with what they lack patentable (Arundel and Kabla 1998; Mansfield
(Teece et al. 1997, p. 514) in the short run, the ques- 1986). Further, financial or market performance
tion of how firms can develop resources for innova- figures can be influenced by sources of variation
tion becomes a fundamental strategic issue (Teece unrelated to innovatory activities. The use of more
et al. 1997). Further, a firms resources can depreci- direct measures, such as changes in productivity,
ate over time (e.g. Argote et al. 1990; Darr et al. could help to mitigate these problems. For example,
1995), and changing external conditions might Kusunoki et al. (1998) use productivity measures to
require firms to adapt their technology and thus their study the impact of different organisational capabili-
resource endowments accordingly (Greve and Taylor ties on innovation outcomes. The performance of
2000; Teece et al. 1997). We therefore believe that process innovations is particularly hard to measure,
more research is needed to clarify how firms create since the widely used innovation performance meas-
and dynamically adapt resources for innovation. ures were conceptualized for new product develop-
Bowman and Colliers (2006) conceptual contin- ment (Arundel and Kabla 1998; Belderbos et al.
gency framework for resource-creation processes 2004; Brouwer and Kleinknecht 1999; emphasis
might serve as a starting point to build hypotheses. added).
Not surprisingly then, process innovations have
attracted much less attention than product innova-
tions (cf. Table 2). As we have noted further above,
Alternative measures of performance. The cluster this neglect of process innovations seems problem-
analysis indicates that the performance implications atic, as process innovations may also exert a strong
of innovation have received great attention. The word influence on firm performance. One way to address
performance (Cluster 12) alone is an element of 48 process innovations could be to employ productivity
titles (14.04%), and most of the clusters include a measures that are closely related to process innova-
reference to performance outcomes. Table 3 shows tions but underrepresented as dependent variables
that the vast majority of studies that analyse innova- (cf. Table 3).
tory outcomes employ a dependent variable which is Time-related measures also seem to represent a
based on patents, new product development or finan- promising opportunity to broaden knowledge about
cial performance. performance in the context of innovation. On the one
While these measures have enabled much empiri- hand, even short delays in market entry can substan-
cal work that contributes to the understanding of tially decrease the returns from innovations (Vesey
innovation, they have limitations that future research 1991) so that innovation speed is one of the most
may overcome. Moreover, important outcome meas- important measures for assessing a firms innovation
ures that are particularly wanting for the strategic performance in practice (Kerssens-van Drongelen
management of innovation are still prominently and Bilderbeek 1999). On the other hand, the ease
missing. The cluster analysis suggests that alternative and speed of competitor imitation is negatively
performance measures such as survival (Cluster 11) associated with the firms returns from innovation
and, particularly, efficiency(Cluster 4) are used rela- (Teece 1986). Thus, understanding the antecedents
tively little compared with the occurrence of financial of the time-to-imitation is relevant from a strategic
and patent-based measures of performance: only management perspective, since a longer time-to-
eight titles contain the term survival (2.34%), and imitation implies a more sustainable competitive
only three titles (0.88%) the term efficiency. Table 3 advantage. However, variants of the word time
reveals that dependent variables such as survival or (Cluster 11) occur only across eight titles (2.34%).
productivity have been used much less than patent- The most common variant is timing, indicating that
based or financial measures of performance. This most of these titles refer to a timing decision (e.g.
neglect can have problematic consequences. entry timing) rather than to an amount of time

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
16 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

elapsed. Table 3 also illustrates that these time- Table 6 shows that only 12 of the total of 248 empiri-
related measures have been used much less than cal contributions focus on low- and medium-low-
other performance indicators. To date, very few technology (LMT) industries. This distribution of
articles have theorized on innovation speed and time- academic interest is at odds with the fact that, in most
to-imitation (e.g. Ethiraj et al. 2008; Kessler and developing and developed economies, LMT indus-
Chakrabarti 1996; Pacheco-de-Almeida and Zemsky tries provide more than 90% of economic output.
2007; Pil and Cohen 2006), such that more empirical They are also likely to contribute more to economic
research on this topic seems promising. growth than high-technology industries even though
a single firm may spend relatively little on R&D
(Robertson et al. 2009). A particular firm is not
External environment necessarily a non-innovator if its profit and loss
statement does not show formal R&D expenditures,
Many innovation studies claim generalizability
since in LMT industries innovation depends only to a
although the analyses suggest that most of the 342
small extent on formalized internal R&D activities
studies we analyse are specific to high-technology
(Heidenreich 2009; Santamaria et al. 2009). Most
industries (see Table 6). Moreover, a synopsis of all
importantly, the strategic management of innovation
clusters suggests that few environmental contingen-
in LMT industries, as opposed to high-tech indus-
cies beyond country and industry settings have been
tries, is highly likely to differ. Chen (2009) and
studied (see Fig. 1). At the very worst, this may mean
Freddi (2009) provide case studies of how the role of
that many articles that study the strategic manage-
resources and the organisation of product and
ment of innovation have identified context-specific
process innovation differ. Moreover, LMT industries
subsets of the actual theoretical relationships rather
largely emphasize process innovation in which they
than these relationships themselves. Thus, future
may even outperform their high-technology counter-
research may improve generalizability by consider-
parts (Kirner et al. 2009). Thus, to study the strategic
ing additional environmental contingencies, and by
management of innovation in LMT industries may
taking alternative industry and country settings into
pave the way for novel insights. The gradually emer-
ging stream of research on innovation in LMT indus-
First, an improved understanding of environmental
tries in technology and innovation management
contingencies beyond industry and country settings
journals such as Research Policy may provide salient
may provide finer-grained theories to guide innova-
cues that can spur strategic management research in
tion management research and clearer and more con-
these industries.
sistent advice for management practice (Tidd 2001,
p. 180). The political and institutional environment
(e.g. regarding collaboration, antitrust, and regula-
tion policy) offers meaningful opportunities for
research and theory development on the relationship
The strategic management of innovation has
between innovation and organisations (Drazin and
become a central topic within the strategic manage-
Schoonhoven 1996, p. 1078). For instance, a firm
ment field (e.g. Herrmann 2005; Nag et al. 2007).
might benefit from political networking to maximize
Developments in the innovation-related literature
the performance potential of its product innovation
over the last two decades and diverse observations
strategy (Li and Atuahene-Gima 2001). Table 4
by senior scholars consistently indicate that the
suggests that such issues have received little attention
literature on the strategic management of innovation
in extant strategic management literature.
currently exhibits many inconsistencies, competing
Second, virtually all industries that are referenced
theoretical predictions, and persisting knowledge
throughout the cluster analysis are high-technology
gaps. Further, many issues pertaining to the strate-
or at least medium-high technology industries as
gic management of innovation are still little under-
defined by the OECD standard (OECD 2007).10
stood. This adverse situation also brings negative
repercussions for executives since the literature
seldom provides coherent advice and convincing
The OECD classifies high-technology industries as those
where the ratio of R&D expenditure to sales is greater than best practice solutions. Managing innovation has
5% and mediumhigh-technology industries as those with become a daunting task (Drazin and Schoonhoven
an R&D expenditure-to-sales ratio between 3 and 5%. 1996, p. 1081).

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Strategic Management of Innovation 17

This paper has addressed these problems by pro- ric approach vis--vis the traditional narrative
viding the first comprehensive review of the strate- review approach, namely that less attention is
gic management of innovation since Lengnick-Hall devoted to the content of the individual article, which
(1992) and Wolfe (1994). We analysed 342 articles may make it harder for scholars to identify relevant
published in seven journals constitutive of the work for their specific research question.
strategic management field over the period 1992 By developing these paths for future research, we
2010. Together, these articles can be considered also refer extensively to relevant insights generated
representative of the present knowledge about the by innovation research outside the strategic manage-
strategic management of innovation. Consistent ment domain. To date, strategic management schol-
with recent suggestions that the methodological ars have largely ignored such insights from
rigor of reviews of the management literature innovation research (e.g. Tahai and Meyer 1999).
should be strengthened (e.g. Denyer and Neely Cross-fertilizing the strategic management field with
2004; Thorpe et al. 2005; Tranfield et al. 2003), findings from other adequate areas can substantially
we undertook a systematic, quantitative review of contribute to the development of the knowledge
these articles. We combined different quantitative about particular strategic management topics (Furrer
methods co-word analysis, cluster analysis and et al. 2008, p. 16). We therefore believe that our
frequency analysis to triangulate the findings and proposal to build bridges between strategic manage-
thus to validate our claims. ment research and innovation research will prove to
The results of the analyses have pointed to numer- be useful.
ous inconsistencies, knowledge gaps and conflicting This paper also makes a methodological contribu-
theoretical predictions that still impede the under- tion by combining co-word analysis, cluster analysis
standing of the strategic management of innovation. and frequency analysis to generate useful insights
From these analyses, we charted out promising about the strategic management of innovation. Our
opportunities for future research, which may contrib- approach confirms and extends prior statements
ute substantially to the development of the field. about the usefulness of bibliometric and lexico-
Specifically, we identified theoretical inconsistencies graphic techniques (e.g. Furrer et al. 2008; Nag et al.
and knowledge gaps that future research should 2007; Nerur et al. 2008). In particular, we suggest
resolve with regard to the following topics: the per- that a combination of different methods as deployed
formance implications of inter-firm collaborations; in the current paper is particularly promising,
appropriation strategies; the strategic management of because it can triangulate the findings and allow
process innovations, administrative innovations, and scholars to strengthen the methodological rigor and
service innovations; deliberate non-innovation; the thus the theoretical validity of their reviews.
causal relationship between internal organisation and The opportunities for future research that we have
innovation; the implementation of innovation; the identified should also spur the emergence of useful
influence of the ownership structure on innovation insights that can inform executives about manage-
strategy; the development of resources for innovatory ment and policy options .
purposes; alternative measures to capture the per- Our study may also serve as a basis to begin a
formance implications of innovation; environmental discourse of how innovation is understood within a
contingencies beyond country and industry settings; strategic management perspective. While we have
and the strategic management of innovation in low- distinguished between basic types of innovation (cf.
and medium-technology industries. Table 2), future research could take a closer look at
For each of these topics, we provide arguments for commonalities and differences in the way strategic
why it is relevant to close the particular knowledge management articles define and operationalize inno-
gap or to resolve the conflicting theoretical predic- vation. Such an analysis may reveal important prop-
tions and inconsistencies encountered. These argu- erties of innovations that have not yet received
ments may facilitate the emergence of research adequate research attention. This greater consistency,
efforts that can make a substantial contribution to in turn, would facilitate the development of the
the development of the field. Further, we refer to understanding of how different sub-types of innova-
pioneering work that has already addressed a topic tion should be managed strategically and it would
that is in need of further investigation. By providing also allow researchers to generate more conclusive
this information, we intend to compensate for a advice for managers and executives (Garcia and
potential disadvantage of the quantitative bibliomet- Calantone 2002).

2011 The Authors

International Journal of Management Reviews 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
18 M.M. Keupp, M. Palmi and O. Gassmann

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Appendix S1. Overview of the 342 articles subjected
impact of firm resources and capabilities. Strategic
to the literature review and their cluster affiliations
Management Journal, 20, pp. 637653.
Yu, D. and Hang, C.C. (2010). A reflective review of
disruptive innovation theory. International Journal of Please note: Blackwell Publishing are not responsi-
Management Reviews, 12, pp. 435452. ble for the content or functionality of any supporting
Zahra, S.A., Ireland, R.D. and Hitt, M.A. (2000). Interna- materials supplied by the authors. Any queries (other
tional expansion by new venture firms: international than missing material) should be directed to the cor-
diversity, mode of market entry, technological learning, responding author for the article.

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