A competency profile for technology innovation leaders in knowledge-intensive organisations in South Africa

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH SUMMARY : The innovation economy is inextricably linked to advancements in science and technology that create new opportunities for innovation, as well as unprecedented leadership challenges for those leading teams from new scientific knowledge to successful technology innovation. Scholarly contributions to the innovation knowledge base have increased exponentially in recent years with little evidence of aggregation or integration of insights across theoretical foundations and disciplines to benefit technology innovation leaders. Most institutional leaders surveyed regard innovation as a priority, yet do not know how to improve their innovation performance, or which leader competences are associated with successful technology innovation. This explorative study into the competencies of successful technology innovation leaders from different disciplines, institutions and technology domains has led to the observation that linear sequential predetermined innovation process models that worked in the industrial age may not be appropriate for leading technology innovation in the innovation economy. This mixed-methods study identified technology innovation leader competencies that are deemed to be required for successful technology innovation in a competency profile based on the observed empirical results. During a qualitative first research phase, expert opinions were obtained through personal interviews and triangulated with workshop findings, case materials, and published materials in order to define interim capability clusters across innovation processes, which were used to develop a self-administered questionnaire as measurement instrument. A pilot survey with a sample of technology innovation leaders confirmed interim capability clusters as constructs and behavioural items for testing in the main survey. Peer-based snowball sampling through personal networks and professional associations resulted in 266 survey responses to provide research data that was processed into descriptive and inferential statistics meeting threshold parameters. A hypothesised model reflected relationships between the success orientation of the leader, the integrative competencies of the leader and competencies related to technology connectedness, stakeholder alignment, liberating mindsets, value creation and value realisation. Reflective partial least squares structural equation modelling was used to derive a statistically-grounded model after evaluation of the measurement model and analysis of the survey results by utilising the bootstrapping functionalities of SmartPLS. Rather than commenting on the merits of existing theoretical frameworks, this study revealed the significance for the technology innovation leader to be competent at different competency clusters that may not conform to existing paradigms of established disciplines and their core assumptions.
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Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.
Technological innovations, Innovation leadership, Integrative leadership, Executive ability, UCTD