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Flock theory - a new approach to the study of innovation

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Time: 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Venue: Room TBC, Kingston Business School, Kingston Hill campus, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 7LB
Price: free
Speaker(s): Dr Rosemary Athayde

Flock theory - a new approach to the study of innovation

The importance of innovation to the success, growth and survivability of large and small firms has increased considerably in recent decades; not least due to the impact of the world-wide recession. One strategic response, featured in the literature, is corporate entrepreneurship. Conceptual and empirical articles appear with escalating regularity in scholarly journals and popular management literature. The consequence is that the corporate world is faced with a confusing abundance of definitions, analyses, findings, models and recommendations. This paper draws on evidence from a study of recruitment specialists, CEOs, senior partners, and corporate executives to consider their perspectives on corporate entrepreneurship, in the light of literature from entrepreneurship, organizational and creativity studies.

Flock theory, derived from avian ecology, is presented as a model for understanding the underlying processes involved in corporate entrepreneurship that goes beyond network and systems theories, to investigate more fundamental processes. Used in this way flock theory sits with the ecological approach of the Chicago School (Abbott 1997; Park 1972). Corporate entrepreneurship is characterised as a self-organising, emergent, autopoietic system. In avian ecology there are three main rules of flocking: separation (steer to avoid crowding adjacent birds; alignment and velocity matching (steer towards the average heading local birds); and cohesion (steer to move toward the average position of local birds) (Reynolds 1987; Crichton 2003; Giardina 2008; Rosen 2010). This study has adapted these simple rules and applied them to organisational design, to uncover the ecological processes that underlie organisational innovation. We conclude that through a strategic combination of a structure and culture supportive of entrepreneurial behaviour, organizations can boost organizational level innovation. Entrepreneurial activities emerge from collaboration, open communications and participatory decision-making. Corporate entrepreneurship cannot be engineered rather what organisations must do is create the conditions to enable it to flourish.

For further information about this event:

Contact: Christina Butler
Tel: 020 8417 5123
Email: christina.butler@kingston.ac.uk

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Directions to Room TBC, Kingston Business School, Kingston Hill campus, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 7LB:

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