Factors influencing knowledge creation and innovation in an organisation

Mireille Merx-Chemin, Wim J. Nijhof

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence the innovative power of organisations. The concept of innovation and innovative power was examined by analysing the relationship between the construct of the learning organisation, knowledge organisation and innovative organisation, and has resulted in an innovation process model. This model consists of three processes: knowledge creation, innovation and learning to learn. The factors that might influence this cycle are: added value for stakeholders, leadership, climate, structure and strategic alignment.

    Design/methodology/approach: This is an exploratory study that was conducted at Océ Technologies in The Netherlands.The case study consisted of a qualitative and a quantitative stage and comprised a selection of two innovation projects separated in time. The purpose of the first phase was to collect information about the innovation spiral, through interviews with members of three divisions in each innovation process. After this, a survey was designed and sent to all employees and managers of the three divisions involved in the two innovation cases.

    Findings: On the basis of a data analysis, factors explaining variance in terms of innovation, learning and knowledge creation were identified. If innovation is discontinuous, the innovation spiral is not valid; if innovation has a strength in critical reflection on cases from the past to mould the future, the model has some explanatory power.

    Research limitations/implications: Using a survey technique to retrieve data from a current innovation experiment has a set of possible risks like maturation, forgetting, selection and a different context. Reflection and reconstruction, however, are the only possible means to achieve this. A case study does not guarantee generalisation of results.

    Originality/value: By studying the model and the factors that can influence them, organisations understand that it is necessary to integrate their initiatives in organisational learning, knowledge creation and innovation for the benefit of the organisation, to find a better way to adjust to discontinuous change and finally gain innovative power.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-147
    JournalJournal of European industrial training
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • Innovation
    • Learning organizations
    • Knowledge management
    • Critical thinking
    • The Netherlands


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