Legitimating Organizational Innovation Initiatives

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Basic Information

Lehrstuhl für Innovation, Strategie und Organisation
Funding Body:
Michael Barrett (University of Cambridge)
Partner Organisation:
Cambridge University NHS Foundation Trust


Novel ideas that emerge within organizations often face latent skepticism or even open resistance. If these ideas are to shape organizational reality, their initiators thus have to build legitimacy for their new endeavors by persuading their superiors and peers of the desirability of their innovation. This is a largely discursive process that involves an array of texts ranging from formal business cases to informal hall talks. As part of this study, we seek to uncover some of those discursive micro-strategies that agents of organizational innovation projects employ to legitimate their initiatives. We do so by drawing on an ethnographic study conducted in a leading University Hospital in England.