Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2015/38: Innovation Bureaucracy: Does the organization of government matter when promoting innovation?

Erkki Karo () and Rainer Kattel ()
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Erkki Karo: Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology
Rainer Kattel: Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

Abstract: Current research on how to organize the role of government in innovation – both how governments support innovation in markets and how governments achieve innovations within public organizations for improving its market supporting activities – converges around a rather simplified single-organization explanations: innovations are driven by either (Weberian) elite expert organizations or (Schumpeterian) fluid peripheral organizations. We show that looking at history of innovation bureaucracy, a more complex picture emerges: historically we find a rich organizational variety for implementing diverse innovation policy goals. We show that historically the organizational variety is, first, driven by highly diverse public-private relationships; and second, the variety itself is an important factor in success and failure of innovation policies. Combining analytical lenses created by Weber and Mintzberg we build analytical framework based on routines and capacities to analyze organizational variety in innovation bureaucracy. We show how different kinds of public organizations are successful at delivering different kinds of innovation policy goals and impacts. Particularly important is the distinction between organizations capable of innovations in policies (instrumental performance) vs organizations supporting innovations in private sector (substantive performance). We finish with discussing the importance of organizational variety for the concept of entrepreneurial state.

Keywords: innovation policy; Weberian bureaucracy; organizational varieties; policy capacities

JEL-codes: B15; B52; O20; O25; O30; O38; P11

25 pages, October 22, 2015

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201538_Karo_Kattel.pdf PDF-file 

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