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Rethinking the effect of risk aversion on the benefits of service innovations in public administration agencies


Torugsa, N and Arundel, A, Rethinking the effect of risk aversion on the benefits of service innovations in public administration agencies, Research Policy, 46, (5) pp. 900-910. ISSN 0048-7333 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2017 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.respol.2017.03.009


tThis study applies a holistic approach grounded in configurational theory to a sample of 2505 innova-tive public administration agencies in Europe to explore the effect of organizational risk aversion on thebenefits from service innovations. The analyses, using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA),identify several combinations of strategies (varying by the agency size and the novelty of innovation) thatmanagers in risk-averse agencies can use to work effectively around the risks of innovating. The findingsshow that the managers of both high and low risk-averse agencies can achieve high benefits from theirinnovation efforts, but their strategizing behaviors differ. An integrated strategy that combines collab-oration, complementary process and communication innovations, and an active management strategyto support innovation is the most effective method for ‘low-risk-averse’ small agencies and ‘high-risk-averse’ larger agencies to obtain high benefits from either novel or incremental service innovations. Ourresults point to the need to rethink the conventional assumption that a culture of risk aversion in publicsector agencies is a cause of management ineffectiveness and a stumbling block to innovation success.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Risk aversion; public services; service innovations; innovation benefits; strategies, configurational theory
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Business and Management
Research Field:Innovation and Technology Management
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Management and Productivity
Objective Field:Public Sector Productivity
Author:Torugsa, N (Dr Ann Torugsa)
Author:Arundel, A (Professor Anthony Arundel)
ID Code:115576
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Deposited On:2017-03-31
Last Modified:2018-02-14

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