Open for Ideation: Individual-Level Openness and Idea Generation in R&D

Journal of Product Innovation Management, Forthcoming

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 Last revised: 10 Jun 2014

See all articles by Ammon Salter

Ammon Salter

University of Bath - School of Management

Anne L. J. Ter Wal

Imperial College Business School

Paola Criscuolo

Imperial College Business School

Oliver Alexy

Technische Universität München (TUM), TUM School of Management

Date Written: April 9, 2014

Abstract

Organizations are increasingly encouraging their scientists and engineers to source knowledge externally. However, it is unclear how the openness of individuals to external sources of knowledge affects their ideation performance, that is, their ability to develop new, useful innovative ideas for their organization, and which factors might moderate this process. Drawing on theories of combinatorial search, and using a sample of 329 R&D scientists and engineers working in a large organization, we demonstrate that individuals’ openness to external sources of knowledge is curvilinearly related to their ideation performance. Openness provides benefits such as alertness and variety which contribute to ideation up to the point where increasing integration and approval costs cause negative returns to set in. We also examine how the R&D time horizon, ties to senior managers, and the breadth of individual knowledge moderate the costs and benefits of openness to individuals. We explore the implications of these findings for managerial practice.

Keywords: openness, ideation, external sources, combinatorial search, innovation, open innovation

JEL Classification: O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Salter, Ammon and Ter Wal, Anne L. J. and Criscuolo, Paola and Alexy, Oliver, Open for Ideation: Individual-Level Openness and Idea Generation in R&D (April 9, 2014). Journal of Product Innovation Management, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2422983

Ammon Salter

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

Anne L. J. Ter Wal (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

Tanaka Building
South Kensington Campus
London, London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 20 7594 1460 (Phone)
+44 (0) 20 7594 5915 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.anneterwal.com

Paola Criscuolo

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/p.criscuolo

Oliver Alexy

Technische Universität München (TUM), TUM School of Management ( email )

Arcisstr. 21
Munich, 80333
Germany
+49-89-289-52803 (Phone)
+49-89-289-52899 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ent.wi.tum.de

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