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FAILING TO INNOVATE

With Seth Lewis (Oregon) and Colin Agur (Minnesota), I just published an article about failure to innovate in news organizations using the case of chatbots in intrapreneurial units. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to discuss the piece with you!


This article explores the institutional logics of intrapreneurial units, or groups within organizations that are designated to foster organizational innovation. Drawing on interviews with news intrapreneurs developing chatbots in news media organizations, this study shows that innovation can be stymied because of conflicting institutional logics. News intrapreneurs adopt a logic of experimentation, audience orientation, and efficiency-seeking, but that approach clashes with a journalistic logic prioritizing news workflows, formats, and associated autonomy for newsworkers. These clashing logics limit the adoption and influence of chatbots. This study illustrates the shaping influence of competing institutional logics and their negotiation in the development, deployment, and success or failure of intrapreneurial activities within organizations. The lesson is not that the existence of competing logics is, by default, a defeating proposition for innovation. Rather, this study advances scholarly understanding of the role of institutional logics in frustrating or facilitating technological adoption in organizations.




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