Strategizing for Innovation: An Empirical Investigation on Strategic Orientation and Innovation Types

Tahseen Arshi, Gargi Chugh


Innovation is a key competence that most firms wish to acquire as it has been established that innovation can provide the necessary competitive advantage. However, firms struggle to develop appropriate strategic direction that may provide the necessary competitive advantage through innovation. Strategizing for innovation becomes even more challenging as innovation comes in different forms and sizes. This study attempts to unravel the complexities associated with innovation and strategizing. The findings provide clear directions to firms as the critical dimensions of strategy are prescribed for both radical and incremental innovation.

Value/ originality

Theoretical insights from both strategy and innovation literature informs this study to develop empirical guidelines for strategy design. This is one of the first studies that associate different strategic orientations for both radical and incremental innovation. This study fills a critical gap in the literature as earlier studies have focused on strategy and innovation in a very generic context.


The role strategy in promoting innovation in organizations has found considerable amount of acceptance in the literature. However, the richness of extant literature on strategic orientation gets limited when strategy is studied in the context of innovation, especially innovation scale and frequency. Clear strategic directions are not available to firms based on their innovation focus. It is therefore quite observable that many of the innovation efforts fail and unable to provide these firms with requisite competitive advantage. The limited clarity on the concept of innovation itself makes it difficult to analyze strategy within a prescribed and valid framework. Since this study focuses on strategic orientation within the context of radical and incremental innovation, academic and practitioners will have a better understanding of strategic decision making for each type of innovation. Specific strategies can be designed depending on the innovation type and objectives.

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