Searching for sustainability-led innovation: Reconciling the Unintended Consequences of Conflicting Organizational Logics
A competitive innovation climate and the scale of sustainability challenge requires higher levels of collaboration with unusual partners
The circular economy is challenged to resolve multiple tensions – closing material loops, improving social conditions, and satisfying market demands.
Innovating with in hybrid organizational forms creates sites for sustainability-led innovation, owing to different institutional logics.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Searching for sustainability-led innovation: Reconciling the Unintended Consequences of Conflicting Organizational Logics
Searching for Sustainability-led Innovation:
Reconciling the Unintended Consequences
of Conflicting Organizational Logics
Supervisor: Dr Palie Smart
Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL, United Kingdom
T: +44 (0)7970 758124 or +44 (0)1234 751122
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
1: Thornton, P., Ocasio, W. and Lounsbury, M., 2012. The Institutional Logics Perspective, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2: Seebode, D., Jeanrenaud, S. and Bessant, J., 2012. Managing Innovation for Sustainability. R&D Management, 42(3), pp.195–206.
3: Levinthal, D. and March, J., 1981. A Model of Adaptive Organizational Search. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2(4), pp.307–333.
4: Smith, W. and Lewis, M., 2011. Toward a Theory of Paradox: a Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Organizing. Academy of Management Review, 36(2), pp.381–403.
5: Pache, A.-C. and Santos, F., 2013. Inside the Hybrid Organization: Selective Coupling as a Response to Competing Institutional Logics. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4), pp.972–
6. Jay, J., 2013. Navigating Paradox as a Mechanism of Change and Innovation in Hybrid Organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), pp.137–159.
7: Battilana, J. and Dorado, S., 2010. Building Sustainable Hybrid Organizations: The Case of Commercial Microfinance Organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 53(6), pp.1419–
8: Haigh, N. and Hoffman, A.J., 2012. Hybrid organizations. Organizational Dynamics, 41(2), pp.126–134.
9: Flanagan, J.C., 1954. The critical incident technique. Psychological bulletin, 51(4), pp.327–58.
• A competitive innovation climate and the scale of sustainability challenge requires
higher levels of collaboration with unusual partners
• The circular economy is challenged to resolve multiple tensions – closing material
loops, improving social conditions, and satisfying market demands.
• Innovating with in hybrid organizational forms creates sites for sustainability-led
innovation, owing to different institutional logics.
• Understanding reconciliation strategies for sustainability-led innovations with
hybrid organizational forms
• Paradox perspective allows for better understanding modes of reconciliation
regarding sustainability aspirations
• Reconciliation strategies developed ultimately allow for faster delivery of novel
ideas and opportunities in different hybrid organizational forms.
incidents and their
reconciliation in search for
partners involved with
tensions and their
Method Critical incident technique
Interviews with individuals
involved in the for-
Analysis Analytic induction and
ideal type analysis
Reporting Descriptive and evaluative
Organizational search in hybrid organizational forms
NOVELTY AND CONTRIBUTION
Reconciliation strategies for sustainability-led innovations
• Hybrid organizations are sustainability-driven and address social and environmental
concerns predominantly in market settings
• In practice, paradoxical incidents are expected to occur during agenda setting and
through problem-solving activities.
• Little empirical evidence how such paradoxes are reconciled.
How do distinct institutional logics impact the search for
• Systematic literature review brought
together findings on organization-
• Evidence suggests that search
• Organizational search is well
developed in inter-firm
organizational contexts, but less so
in cross-sector contexts
• Literature review on institutional
logic revealed that different firms are
influenced by distinct sets of
• Evidence suggests that material and
symbolic practices shape a firms’
• Paradoxes and tensions occur as
conflicts when logics recombine
Organizational Search and
Critical Incident Technique9
• Different institutional logics with distinct aims in hybrid organizational forms are suspected to create different types of conflicting paradoxes
• Hybridization or hybridity is a key construct in relation to conflicts and tensions
• Overcoming insurgent logics through appropriate reconciliation strategies impact learning and innovation
• Sustainability-led innovations supports transition towards a circular economy
EXPECTED FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS
Reconciliation strategies support faster innovation searches towards a circular economy
•New designs (of
Hybrid organizational form5,6,7,8
Paradox reconciliation in hybrid organizational forms