Institutional Innovation: A constructivist study of how actors construe innovation at Icopal

Julie Anne Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis analyses how actors perceive the enabling and constraining conditions for innovation as they engage in innovation that may disrupt the highly institutionalized construction sector. The study offers a critical analysis of how innovation happens, according to the partially institutionally embedded actors involved, who are perceived as constructers of the innovation path within Icopal. A social constructivist approach to Grounded Theory serves to analyze eight semi-structured interviews with employees within Management, Sales and Development departments of Icopal. The findings identify four enabling conditions for innovation, which are Competence and Knowledge, Network Innovation, Culture and Motivation and Organizational Structures. Three constraining conditions are identified by Icopal as Supertanker, Dysfunctional Periodic Procedures and Resource Allocations. The discussion offers a reflection on the potential implications of my findings, including how actors can be seen as disrupting institutions as they engage in innovation, seen from an institutional perspective. I finally discuss the concept of the paradox of embedded agency. Here I raise the question of whether it is reasonable to assume that actors are able to disrupt institutions when actors’ beliefs and actions are significantly determined by the same institutional environment that they wish to change.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages247