Organizational climate for innovation and creativity – a study in Swedish retail organizations

Karla Marie Batingan Paredes, Annika Olsson, Malin Olander Roese, Ulf Johansson, Sofia Ritzén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Innovation in retailing is under-investigated in academia and yet a highly relevant concern given the current changes in the retail landscape. Although retailing is often characterized by a dynamic and highly competitive environment, retail organi- zations are not often considered as ‘innovative,’ at least when compared with manufacturing industries, or when using exist- ing innovation frameworks in academic literature. There are many aspects of innovation discussed in literature and a need to consider different ways of looking into retail’s inno- vativeness. Among them, the importance of organizational climate on influencing creativity and innovation may help explain how to enable innovation in service organizations, such as retailers. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the climate for innovation and creativity and examine how retail organizations perceive it. We applied a mixed-methods approach using an established organizational climate survey and semi-structured, one-on-one interviews regarding the innovation climate and other aspects of innovation manage- ment in the companies. The study shows that despite retail organizations still struggling to incorporate innovation on a strategic level and move beyond incremental developments in their operations, retailers score positively on being innova- tive regarding certain dimensions of the organizational climate survey. This indicates that retailers (especially conventional ones) could benefit from challenging current practices and moving towards becoming more active and strategic innova- tors since their organizational climate to a certain extent allows for it. Respondents within the organizations also express a need for better innovation support, whether it is through established structures and processes or an improve- ment in the current conditions of the organizational climate. How retailers could enable themselves to become more active innovators – based on what we know that retailers look more towards entrepreneurship and continuous development as a driving force rather than formalized innovation practices per se – is a potential avenue for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-261
JournalInternational Review of Retail Distribution & Consumer Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 4

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration
  • Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Free keywords

  • Organizational climate
  • innovation
  • creative climate
  • retail
  • retail innovation


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