Managing Innovation: When Less is More

by Charlan Nemeth

Fall 1997

Volume 40
Issue 1

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An analysis of many highly successful and "visionary" companies reveals the existence of corporate cultures that emphasize adherence to company goals and cohesiveness within the group. While such cultures can improve effort, morale, and productivity, they also tend to thwart innovation--limiting not only the expression of "original" ideas, but even their production. Research in social psychology suggests that flexibility to changing circumstances and innovation is better served by a "culture" that not only tolerates, but welcomes dissent and minority views. Such dissent--even when wrong--stimulates better decision making and innovation. Thus, the proper harnessing of dissent may provide a mechanism for creating unity without uniformity and for igniting the "spark" of innovation.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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