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Revisiting innovation: the organizational vulnerability of small or medium companies innovating in the outdoor sports sector

Bastien Soulé (), Julie Hallé, Eric Boutroy () and Bénédicte Vignal ()
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Bastien Soulé: L-VIS - Laboratoire sur les Vulnérabilités et l'Innovation dans le Sport (EA 7428) - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon
Julie Hallé: L-VIS - Laboratoire sur les Vulnérabilités et l'Innovation dans le Sport (EA 7428) - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon
Eric Boutroy: L-VIS - Laboratoire sur les Vulnérabilités et l'Innovation dans le Sport (EA 7428) - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon
Bénédicte Vignal: L-VIS - Laboratoire sur les Vulnérabilités et l'Innovation dans le Sport (EA 7428) - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon

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Abstract: While it is common thought that innovating is likely to procure competitive advantage within the industry of sports goods, it is also a risky activity which may lead to damaging consequences for companies. It therefore seems relevant to take an interest in the potential detrimental effects of innovation processes within small, particularly creative, companies in the sports sector. In this paper, we seek to know if, and how, engaging in an innovation process leads to singular forms of organizational vulnerability. Case studies were carried out in five French companies specializing in the outdoors: three small or medium entreprises (SME) and two very small (or micro) entreprises (VSE). We conducted a total of 48 interviews with different actors in the innovation processes, accompanied by field observations and analysis of secondary data. The priority frequently given to meeting technical challenges is likely to distance the product from the customer and real use. In certain cases, "innovation fever" generates internal imbalance. Second, some companies are too dependent on a key figure in their functioning, the inventor-entrepreneur; it sometimes implies a weakening of the innovation network during its vital decoupling stage. Finally, although the creation of innovation networks is necessary, it heightens the dependence on stakeholders and exposes to specific threats. Excessive confidence in the benefits of innovation can prove problematic. Innovators should not be discouraged, but reminded of the contingent and uncertain nature of the processes in which they engage, requiring anticipation and measure. The challenge consists in managing both the present and the future, while acknowledging that the exploitation of a routine does not prevent the exploration of new solutions.

Keywords: innovation management; organizational vulnerability; outdoor sports; product innovation; small companies; management de l’innovation; vulnérabilité organisationnelle; sports outdoor; innovation de produit; petites entreprises (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-07-28
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ppm, nep-sbm and nep-spo
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.science/hal-03360833v4
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Published in Management & Organisations du Sport, 2023, Issue 5 | 2023, pp.1-33. ⟨10.46298/mos-2023-8545⟩

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03360833

DOI: 10.46298/mos-2023-8545

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