Innovation in project based organisations : a case study on a contract research organisation

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Jennings, Josephine
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MBA in Project Management
Dublin Business School
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There is an increasing need for innovation throughout most industries in order to gain competitive advantage and survive international competition within the global markets (Drazin and Schoonhoven, 1996). This is especially relevant for the Contract Research Industry as innovation is a necessity to survive against the brutal force of external pressures such as regulation, governments, and scientific discovery. The increase in innovation strategies throughout organisations is paralleled with the increase in businesses evolving their structures to project based organisations which calls to question how supportive this organisational structure is at delivering successful innovation. This topic is debated throughout the literature with little research in this area. Innovation management provides a best practise approach for all businesses and is based on functional traditional organisations. However many authors have called for a specific approach to innovation based on the organisation model and industry as it is believed a best practise approach is no longer relevant or useful (Tidd, 2001; Blindenbach-Driessen and van Den Ende, 2010). Therefore the aim of this research is to investigate how effective Project Based Organisations are in the Contract Research Industry at providing a supportive context for innovation. In order to achieve this aim key areas highlighted from the literature are investigated such as management practises, knowledge transfer, slack resourcing and time constraints. The research will also consider how the organisation overcomes challenges in relation to these topics and makes recommendations for future research. This thesis includes qualitative research by providing a case-study of a global Contract Research organisation. The research focusses on the insights and experiences of key personnel within the organisation that have an involvement in innovation. Author keywords: Project Management, innovation, project based organisation, knowledge management