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The challenge of integrating innovation and quality management practice
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. (Kvalitetsteknik)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7409-8966
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. (Kvalitetsteknik)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5431-0392
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. (Kvalitetsteknik)
2016 (English)In: Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, ISSN 1478-3363, E-ISSN 1478-3371, Vol. 7, no 1-2, 34-47 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Following in the footsteps of ‘New Public Management’, where quality management and quality control have become widely implemented concepts among public authorities, there is now a subsequent government demand to also be innovative. However, integrating and achieving a balance between improved quality and increased innovation is not an easy task. Previous research indicates a complex and ambiguous relation, raising questions as to how to optimally combine these two approaches organisationally, operationally, and culturally. Is there an ‘edge of chaos’ where there is maximal flexibility for innovation while maintaining sufficient order for quality? The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential integration of innovation and quality management practice within the public sector. The paper is based on a multiple case study design, confronted with existing literature, and shows that the current quality management practice is perceived as being related to standardisation, leading to a decrease in the space for innovation. Second, that there is an expectation and belief that innovation and quality management can be handled in parallel and reinforce each other instead of being mutually detrimental.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 7, no 1-2, 34-47 p.
Keyword [en]
quality; innovation; organisational learning; quality management; public sector
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-23136DOI: 10.1080/14783363.2014.939841ISI: 000374776100003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84956834796OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-23136DiVA: diva2:753058
Note

Published online: 30 Jul 2014

Available from: 2014-10-07 Created: 2014-10-07 Last updated: 2017-03-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Understanding Innovation as an Approach to Increasing Customer Value in the Context of the Public Sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Innovation as an Approach to Increasing Customer Value in the Context of the Public Sector
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

We live in a society that is constantly developing. New challenges and new opportunities emerge all the time. Fortunately, human beings have a fantastic ability to adapt and find new solutions in new situations, i.e. to be innovative. Not just individuals but also organizations need to make room for innovative development. Organizations need to work on how to develop new products, services and processes. At the same time, each organization needs to work on improving the quality of existing activities. Previous research has shown that high value for the customer, i.e. that which often constitutes the goal of quality work, is achieved by the organization working in parallel on developing existing products, services and processes while at the same time driving innovative development forward. How organizations cope with the balance between these two perspectives has been researched and written about considerably when it comes to manufacturing companies. On the other hand, however, there is a lack of documented knowledge regarding how best to balance these two perspectives in the service sector in general and the public sector in particular. This thesis has been written with a view to contributing to existing knowledge about how innovation can be understood as a possible way of increasing customer value within the public sector. It seeks to create insight into how innovation is perceived as a phenomenon in order to increase value for the customer and into how innovation work relates to other aspects of current quality practices within the Swedish public sector. It has also been written with a view to contributing greater understanding to how some of the quality movement’s tools can increase innovation capacity in the public sector.

           

To fulfil this aim, a literature study and case studies have been performed. The case studies have been performed in Sweden at Lantmäteriet (Swedish Land Survey) and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, (Sida). One of the case studies also included the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Government. Three research reports have been written between 2012 and 2014, and these form the basis of the thesis.

 

The research findings give examples of organizations whose quality work focuses closely on systematic measurement and control of the work process and much less on innovatively developing new ways of increase customer value. The findings also show that there are a number of obstacles which the public administrations studied face to combine quality work with a greater ability to work innovatively. Given that innovative development is an important strategy for increasing customer value, the study indicates that some of the existing quality work is an obstacle to achieving greater customer value in the public sector.

 

 

At the same time, there are tools and values in the quality movement that can improve the organization’s ability to innovate. The quality movement’s core values and tools, such as systematic cyclical learning, can constitute important tools with which to create favourable conditions to improve innovative ability. This underlines the need for identifying where quality work strengthens and hinders innovation processes respectively. The research findings also stress the need to radically improve the work on innovative processes in the public sector in order to achieve the overarching goals of public administration more effectively. 

Abstract [sv]

Vi lever i ett samhälle som ständigt utvecklas. Nya utmaningar och nya möjligheter dyker hela tiden upp. Som tur är har människan en fantastisk förmåga att anpassa sig och finna nya lösningar i nya situationer, d.v.s. vara innovativ. Inte bara individer utan även organisationer behöver ha utrymme för innovativ utveckling. Organisationer behöver arbeta med hur man skall utveckla nya varor, tjänster och processer. Samtidigt behöver varje organisation också arbeta med att utveckla kvalitén i befintlig verksamhet. Tidigare forskning har visat att ett högt värde för kunden, d.v.s. det som ofta utgör målet för kvalitetsarbete, uppnås genom att organisationen parallellt arbetar med utveckling av befintliga produkter, tjänster och processer samtidigt som man driver en innovativ utveckling. Hur organisationer hanterar balansen mellan dessa två perspektiv har det forskats och skrivits en hel del om för varuproducerande företag. Däremot saknas det dokumenterad kunskap om hur man balanserar dessa perspektiv på bästa sätt inom den tjänsteproducerande sektorn i allmänhet och den offentliga sektorn i synnerhet. Denna avhandling skrivs i syfte att bidra till befintlig kunskap om hur innovation kan förstås som en möjlig väg att öka kundvärdet inom den offentliga sektorn. Avhandlingen söker skapa insikt om hur innovation uppfattas som fenomen i syfte att öka värde för kunden samt hur det innovativa arbetet förhåller sig till andra moment av pågående kvalitetsarbete inom den svenska offentliga sektorn. Avhandlingen har även skrivits i syfte att bidra till ökad förståelse av hur vissa av kvalitetsrörelsens verktyg kan öka innovations-kapaciteten inom offentlig sektor.

           

För att svara upp mot syftet har en litteraturstudie samt fallstudier genomförts. Fallstudierna har genomförts i Sverige på myndigheterna Lantmäteriet samt på biståndsmyndigheten Sida. I en fallstudie ingick även utrikesdepartementet samt den svenska regeringen. Tre forskningsrapporter har under åren 2012 till 2014 skrivits och dessa utgör underlag för denna avhandling.

 

Resultatet av forskningen ger exempel på organisationer som i sitt kvalitetsarbete har ett stort fokus på systematisk mätning och kontroll av arbetsprocesser och betydligt mindre på att innovativt utveckla nya sätt att öka värdet för kunden. Resultatet av forskningen visar också att det finns ett antal hinder för de studerade offentliga förvaltningarna att kombinera det pågående kvalitetsarbetet med en ökad förmåga att arbeta innovativt. Givet att innovativ utveckling är en viktig strategi för att öka kundvärdet indikerar studien att delar av befintligt kvalitetsarbete utgör hinder för att nå ökat kundvärde inom offentlig sektor.

 

 

Samtidigt finns det inom kvalitetsrörelsen verktyg och värderingar som kan öka organisationens förmåga till innovation. Kvalitetsrörelsens kärnvärden och verktyg som exempelvis systematiskt cykliskt lärande kan utgöra viktiga verktyg för att skapa gynnsamma förutsättningar för ökad innovationsförmåga. Detta understryker behovet av att identifiera var kvalitetsarbete stärker respektive hindrar innovationsprocesser. Resultatet av forskningen understryker samtidigt behovet av att radikalt utveckla arbetet med innovativa processer inom offentlig förvaltning för att därigenom bättre nå den offentliga förvaltningens övergripande mål.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: Mid Sweden University, 2014. 79 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 113
Keyword
Innovation; Customer value; Organizational ambidexterity; Exploration and Exploitation; Leadership in the public sector; New Public Management., Innovation; Kundvärde; Organisatorisk simultankapacitet; Exploration och Explotation; Ledarskap i offentlig sektor; New Public Management.
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-23883 (URN)9789187557958 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-12-17, Östersund, 10:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-18 Last updated: 2014-12-18Bibliographically approved
2. Balancing Control and Breakthrough in Public Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Balancing Control and Breakthrough in Public Management
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Previous research shows that a good balance between focus on development of existing processes with development of new and innovative products, processes or services has a positive effect on organizational excellence. However, the relationship between these two quality perspectives is not easy to maintain and it is a challenge for every organization to find an appropriate balance between them. Previous research shows also that there is often a striking overemphasis on continuous improvement and stepwise refinement at the expense of working with innovations. Consequently, it has become necessary to find forms for development of the balance between improvement of existing processes and innovations. It is a question of how to manage both exploitation (improvement of existing processes) and exploration (innovations). Being able to manage both exploitation and exploration and maintain a good balance is known as organizational ambidexterity.

The purpose of this thesis is to develop existing knowledge of how organisational ambidexterity and innovation can be understood and developed as an approach to increasing customer value in the context of the public sector. In order to meet the purpose, the research behind this thesis was conducted through six studies. The results have been presented in six scientific articles. The analytical focus in the research has been on management of public organization. Thus, the unit of analysis has been public sector management both at national, regional and municipal level. The studies have been conducted with a qualitative approach and data collection has primarily been done through semi- structured interviews. Most of the data has been collected in Sweden.

Through the studies, it appears that the current quality practice in the Swedish public sector to a large extent relates to and supports exploitation, but not exploration. The empirical findings give examples of organizations that have a large focus on systematic measurement and control of the work process. An inhibition of increased customer value is indicated in the studied organizations’ current emphasis on exploitation at the expense of exploration. The research also shows that there are a number of impediments for the public organizations studied to combine their current quality practice with an improved ability to explore. It appears that there is a need for development of the leeway for exploration in order to increase the ability to be ambidextrous.

The research behind this thesis empirically identifies a number of enablers the public organization may need to work actively with in order to develop organizational ambidexterity. Some of these enabling factors harmonize with quality movement core values. This applies to core values like committed leadership, focus on customers and a holistic system perspective. In addition, the following factors are perceived to be enabling factors for organizational ambidexterity: specific budgets for both exploration and exploitation; development of a culture in which employees feel that they are allowed to make mistakes; a good dialogue both internally and with external stake holders; focusing on the implementation of innovations and clear incentives for work on exploration as well as for work on exploitation. Finally, the empirical data also shows that an enabling factor is to get different professions involved in explorative processes. This can be achieved by working through ambassadors who can promote the explorative processes.

The enablers, which have been empirically identified in this research as important for organizational ambidexterity, have also previously been identified by scholars as enablers for innovations. The research behind this thesis contributes to the empirical sorting out which - out of a wide range of factors - may be the most important factors for organizational ambidexterity. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mittuniversitetet, 2017. 95 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 258
Keyword
innovation, ambidexterity, quality management, public administration.
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-30518 (URN)978-91-88527-03-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-04-07, Q221, Mittuniversitetet, Östersund, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 6 accepterat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 6 accepted.

Available from: 2017-03-30 Created: 2017-03-29 Last updated: 2017-03-30Bibliographically approved

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