Patterns of generation and adoption of innovation in organizations: Contingency models of innovation attributes

Shanthi Gopalakrishnan, Fariborz Damanpour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


This study addresses the debate over the occurrence and the applicability of unitary sequence and multiple sequence patterns in the innovation process in organizations. Our general argument is that each pattern's explanatory power hinges on identifiable contingencies. These influencing factors can and should be taken into account by both theorists and managers. Focusing on two types of innovation processes, generation and adoption, we use two innovation attributes-complexity and type-to determine the suitability of each pattern to a specific innovation process. It is proposed that generation and adoption of simple innovations, generation of technical innovations, and adoption of administrative innovations is adequately explained by the unitary sequence pattern. However, generation and adoption of complex innovations, generation of administrative innovations, and adoption of technical innovations is better described by the multiple sequence pattern. Implications for theory development and management practice are then discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-116
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Engineering and Technology Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


  • Administrative and technical innovations
  • Generation and adoption of innovations
  • Innovation complexity
  • Organizational innovation
  • Patterns in the innovation process


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