Chapter | The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship | 2015

Institutional Innovation: Novel, Useful, and Legitimate

by Ryan Raffaelli and Mary Ann Glynn


This chapter advances the theoretical construct of institutional innovation, which we define as novel, useful and legitimate change that disrupts, to varying degrees, the cognitive, normative, or regulative mainstays of an organizational field. Institutional innovation, like all innovation, is both novel and useful, but differs in that it is also legitimate, credible and appropriate. Legitimacy is hinged to four characteristics such that institutional innovation is theorized to be: 1) normative or value-laden; 2) progressing in bursts of change over time; 3) socially constructed and culturally embedded; and 4) associated with logics that shape practices. We develop a framework, outlining the definition, composition, and processual nature of institutional innovation, as well as its generative potency. Finally, implications for theory, practice, and future research are offered.


Raffaelli, Ryan, and Mary Ann Glynn. "Institutional Innovation: Novel, Useful, and Legitimate." In The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, edited by Christina E. Shalley, Michael A. Hitt, and Jing Zhou. Oxford University Press, 2015.