Study of Innovation Processes at Norsk Hydro, Yara International and ABB AS, Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals
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This thesis investigates how Norsk Hydro, Yara International and ABB AS, Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals Oil Gas and Petroleum, innovation processes are affected by the following set of social factors; the need for creativity (exploration) and constraints (exploitation), the use of communication media, employee`s motivation, the use of strong and weak ties and working in multicultural teams. In order to assure an efficient innovation process, there is a need to balance the need for creativity and constraints. Creativity is analogues with exploration and depends upon a certain amount of ambiguity to be effectively performed. Tacit knowledge, which is hard to formalize and communicate to others, is enhanced under the presence of ambiguity. Constraints are analogues to exploitation and preferably there should be no ambiguity and a low degree of tacit knowledge present when performing these activities. The result of this thesis show that in order to manage the ambiguity present, when performing explorative activities, rich communication media should be used. Also, including a broad range of cultures in the innovation process, facilitate novel perspectives and creative thoughts to emerge. Weak ties, which are a great source for novel information, also facilitate the creation of creative thoughts. But due to the presence of tacit knowledge, to avoid transmission failures, strong ties should be used when evaluating the information gathered from the weak ties. Exploitative activities should preferably be performed with the absence of ambiguity. Yet, my result show that two sources of ambiguity is present when performing both explorative and exploitative activities; communicating with people who represent unfamiliar cultures or with people one have no or weak relations with. In order to manage this ambiguity, when communication with people one have no relations with or who represent unfamiliar cultures, rich communication media should be used. And before group sessions starts, the focus should be on assuring that those who represent cultures different from a majority of the others, feel secure and understand why their participation is important. When it comes to the use of network, strong ties are mostly used when performing exploitative activities, even though the amount of ambiguity is low. As weak ties require less maintenance then what strong does, in matters which do not include information competitors could exploit there is a potential in increasing the use of weak ties.