Challenging the Innovation Paradigm: The Prevailing Pro-Innovation Bias

Pernilla Gripenberg, Karl-Erik Sveiby, Beata Segercrantz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Currently innovation is not only seen as a key driver of organizational success but as vital for organizational survival. At a societal level, innovation is perceived as one of the key drivers of economic growth-growth that leads to national wealth and prosperity-and therefore innovation is currently often regarded as the ultimate solution to present welfare related problems in the West (see for example, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2010). As a result, there is a constant strive to innovate, particularly in Western societies. Perhaps surprisingly, whereas innovation is one of the most commonly mentioned concepts in social science, unintended undesirable consequences of innovation are rarely studied. On the other hand, it is perhaps not surprising as it is typically taken for granted that ‘innovation is always good’ and this assumption remains widely accepted and unquestioned. In his review of innovation literature 25 years ago, Rogers (1983) noticed that only 0.2% of innovation research articles addressed consequences of innovation. To follow up this study, we conducted a study including a literature review of all articles in the EBSCO database (see chapter 4) with innovation in the title and that study undesirable consequences. Although ‘innovation’ hits reach hundreds of thousands, refi ning searches into ‘negative or undesirable consequences’ decreases the hits radically. The study found only 26 articles on unintended and undesirable consequences of innovation; 1 per 1,000, a proportion that has not changed since the 1960s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenging the Innovation Paradigm
EditorsKarl-Erik Sveiby, Pernilla Gripenberg, Beata Segercrantz
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2012
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-52275-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-203-12097-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Technology, Work and Organizations


  • 512 Business and Management

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising
  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


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