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The emotions’ role in the diffusion and adoption of innovations in organizations
The emotions’ role in the diffusion and adoption of innovations in organizations ABSTRACT Innovation appears as an integrated part of organization growth strategies and occurs in different market segments. The purpose of this paper, exploratory and qualitative in nature, is to understand therole of emotions in the organizational innovation process. The literature that supports this study is divided into two parts; one related to the diffusion of innovations, and the other exploring emotions, primarily in the sociological point of view, since the study concerns the unleashing of socially built emotions. The research was conducted with multidisciplinary professionals who participatedin innovation experiences in companies of different sectors. Data was collected by means of in-depth interviews and subsequently analyzed using thematic coding procedures. The results led to the suggestion of conceptual models for each researched emotion: happiness, fear, anger and sadness. The models are composed of factors that cause emotions and the consequences of these emotions whenimplementing novelty. From this analysis, it was possible to identify opportunities for carrying out actions in terms of stimulating the positive emotions and minimizing the effects of negative emotions, thus contributing to increase the chances of success in innovation initiatives. Key words: innovation diffusion, emotions, organizational behavior 1 INTRODUCTION Innovation produces significant changes inthe way organizations are competitively positioned and causes them to achieve longterm advantages (Dobni, 2008; Baden-Fuller; Volberda, 1997). According to Rosner (1968), “organizations adopt innovations in order to become better adapted to their environment or to improve their chances of achieving their goals”. Examples of innovation processes refer to quality control, inventory control, processes1
based on information technology, and all of these demand modifications in administrative policies and in technological configuration processes (Bates; Flynn, 1995). The study of innovation diffusion carried out by Rogers (2003) and other authors (Robertson; Gatignon, 1986; Leonard-Barton; Deschamps, 1988; Mahajan et al., 1990; Abrahamson, 1991; Attewell, 1992) provides strong evidencefor the fact that the adoption of an innovation fundamentally depends on individual reactions within a social system. Rogers (2003) cites occasional incompatibilities in socio-cultural values and creeds as agents that can derail adoption. Managing these changes requires a specific form of leadership that aims to change the way in which people think as well as the way they are supposed to act (Hayes;Wheelwright, 1984). However, there are few studies that focus on examining the role of emotions felt by the individual during the diffusion of innovations in companies. Within a transforming organizational context, evidence of emotional reflexes by those involved in the process is perceptible, constituted, for instance, in the form of insecurity, anxiety, resistance, sense powerlessness,nostalgia, conflicts, information withdrawal, sabotage, among others (Thomas, 2002; Venkatesh, 2000; Floyd; Lane, 2000; Piercy; Morgan, 1990). The above-mentioned examples remit to the four primary emotions cited in studies on the sociology of emotions: sadness, anger, fear and happiness (Turner; Stets, 2005). The study of emotions under the lens of sociology, when compared to the field of psychology,...