'Not Invented Here’: Organizational Misalignment as a Barrier to Innovation Implementation in Service Organizations

J.B. Klitsie, R.A. Price, S.C. Santema

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


To build and sustain the legitimacy of design as an approach to service innovation, we need an improved understanding of how and why service organizations fail to implement design-led service concepts. As service innovation implementation requires the synchronous interplay of service operators, customers and indirect stakeholders, challenges exceed the dichotomous relationship between design and production that informs much of the existing knowledge. In this study, we aim to diagnose what
organizational conditions function as barriers to innovation implementation in the context of a large service organization. We present findings from a 14-month action research study. The first author immersed himself in a large airline and engaged with employees from different levels of the organization to conduct actions as part of reflective, collaborative research cycles and to perform formal and conversational interviews. We find that implementation requires collaboration between three instead of two
organizational units: (1) an exploration hub; (2) a support partner and; (3) an operational unit. We reveal how conflicting organizational logics between these units obstructs implementation, not at a specific hand-over moment, but throughout the innovation process. Misalignment between units regarding what constitutes a legitimate priority, design approach and project scope results from these conflicts. This misalignment informs a not-invented-here response from units whose resources are required for implementation. We suggest that managing misalignments between organizational units requires institutional work in various layers of the
organization and that organizations take a risk when they leave the challenge of managing these conflicts completely to individual champions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventServDes.2021 : Tensions, Paradoxes, Plurality - RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 2 Feb 20215 Feb 2021


ConferenceServDes.2021 : Tensions, Paradoxes, Plurality


  • service innovation
  • strategic design
  • service organization
  • institutional theory
  • action research
  • service implementation


Dive into the research topics of ''Not Invented Here’: Organizational Misalignment as a Barrier to Innovation Implementation in Service Organizations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this