Informal Slack in Organisations: A Qualitative Analysis of Innovative Organisations

By Seonaidh McDonald.

Published by The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper considers the relationship between organisational slack and innovation from a new perspective. Moving away from the traditional quantitative research approaches, semi-structured interviews and an activity theory framework are used to operationalize a qualitative view of how slack affects the innovation process. This reveals various kinds of formal and informal slack which are considered important by people involved with innovation in a variety of different organisations. In contrast with existing literature’s emphasis on money as the purest form of slack, the data presented here suggest that time and other kinds of informal slack have important roles to play in the innovation process.

Keywords: Innovation, Slack, Activity Theory

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 12, 2012, pp.71-83. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 814.798KB).

Dr. Seonaidh McDonald

Principal Member, Institute for Management, Governance and Society, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK

Seonaidh McDonald is a Reader in Sustainable Behaviours at Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University. Her research interests centre on sustainable consumption and she has investigated consumer behaviour and consumer decision-making across a wide range of issues including waste, travel, domestic appliances, food, household goods and energy. She also has a strong interest in qualitative research methods and how these are used within organisational research.