Ideas, Complexity, and Innovation

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This study of architectural firms considers the impact of ideas on organizational outcomes. Aspects of the dominant orientations regarding work-what the objective of the design process should be-are isolated and distinguished conceptually from purely organizational goals, such as survival or profit making. These "work motifs" are operationalized through content analysis, and their effects on organizational innovation are examined while controlling for more traditional predictors: organizational complexity, environmental complexity, size, technology, and formalization. The sample is then divided into those firms that are successfully innovative and those that are not, and in each subsample measures of organizational complexity are regressed on antecedent factors. This provides a means of testing environmental contingency theories and highlighting the structural dynamics that result from an emphasis on creativity in organizations. The findings from the comparison of innovative and noninnovative firms are explained through a synthesis of three perspectives in organization theory: Litwak's uniform/non-uniform dichotomy, Simon's analysis of ends-means hierarchies, and Blau's hypothesis about the relation between size and structural differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdministrative Science Quarterly
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)200-219
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.1979
Externally publishedYes