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The Psychology Driving & Barriers to Skunk Work Project (Management Project)

The Psychology Driving and Barriers to Skunk Work Projects (referred to throughout this project work as the paper) represents a study predominantly on Tetra Pak from a selective perspective, the innovators. Innovators both past&present whose initiatives contribute to the well being of Tetra Pak as well as one from Ericsson were consulted.

As with individuals, organizations possess definable characters that are influenced by the various stages of their life cycle. Theories of corporate life cycle phases and organizational character analysis were therefore employed to identify and explain organizational barriers to skunk work leaders&managers. Predicated on the Organizational Character Index survey developed by William Bridges PhD (himself a recognized leader in the field of transition management) and administered to sixty-one managers within a Tetra Pak business unit established the benchmark.

The organizational character was identified and expressed as Myers-Briggs Personality Type ISFP (introverted – sensing – feeling – perceiving). Benchmark in hand, it was then to ascertain the barriers or resistance that skunk work leaders&managers encounter when promoting new ideas. The diversity of the barriers led to the clustering of nine categories compiled from the skunk leaders personal interviews. The nine categories are assumptions, change, communication, competences, culture shift, human dynamics, management, sponsorship and vision.

In addition the six interviewees assisted in determining that Tetra Pak business unit had reached the end of a Mature&Consolidating phase of its’ organizational life cycle according to Larraine Segil’s definition. The perception however is that Tetra Pak business unit is already in the declining phase, descriptive of a phase in transition. Bearing in mind that this view of Tetra Pak is shared by a select few of highly regarded innovators and does not represent a collective perception of Tetra Pak. Triangulation of the findings supported the hypothesis (H1).

In identifying both the organizational character and stage of its’ life cycle it is possible to diagnose&subsequently engineer an environment for innovation. It was understood that the initiative is to be management supported. This paper concludes with the realization that the resources&knowledge leading to innovation exist. Further it suggests how to foster a corporate innovative culture by championing an environmental climate for innovation.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Bellefleur, Dean

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