Decoupling from Standards - Process Management and Technical Innovation in Software Development Organizations
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation Management, ISSN 1363-9196, E-ISSN 1757-5877, Vol. 17, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The paper explores process management standards in software development organisations. It centres on the question how organisations manage the compliance with process standards as well as the need for ongoing technical innovation at the same time. It refers to former studies where it was concluded that process management standards tend to crowd out technical innovations in organisations. By reconsidering the coupling approach of Orton and Weick (1990) we show based on four case studies that it does not apply to those organisations which allow innovating activities being loosely coupled or decoupled from the reigning standard script. These organisations sustain their chances for incremental and fundamental technical innovations. Dealing with loosely coupled or decoupled innovating activities implies a dialectical standard management. It means that potentially contradictory and conﬂict-ridden activities like standardised practices and innovating activities are manageable by speciﬁc institutional, temporarily limited and formal/informal solutions. Furthermore, we scrutinise in this paper the decoupling discussion of some parts of the standard management literature. Standard decoupling is often seen as an unfortunate, but necessary solution to cope with external pressure for internal standardisation. In contrast to this, we develop an understanding where standard decoupling is not deﬁned as a set of activities without affecting the ‘technical core’ of an organisation (Brunsson and Jacobsson, 2000b; Meyer and Rowan, 1967). Rather, decoupling is seen as a temporary and locally limited situation of an innovating subsystem within an organisation where it is allowed to detach from reigning standardised practices and to test and develop innovative ideas under less formalised conditions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 17, no 4
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-133969DOI: 10.1142/S1363919613500126OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-133969DiVA: diva2:1065935
FunderGerman Research Foundation (DFG), FR 2892/1-1