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Ten Organizational Barriers that Limit Innovation

The biggest roadblock to an organization innovating may be the organization itself! Click To Tweet

With all of its technological advances, the Information Age has fundamentally changed the world of work. From this revolution, businesses of all sizes now must innovate and then innovate again if they want to ride the waves of constant change—instead of being flattened by them.

As I work with organizational leaders on innovative change efforts, I often find that they have paid too much attention to activities like aggressive sponsorship, active communication, and personnel changes and less attention on how their organizations actually operate. These are important areas of focus and leaders need to also address the barriers to innovation that exist in their organizations.

Organizational innovation does not thrive in businesses that have a structure that is highly complex, formalized, and centralized (mechanistic structure). Instead, organizational innovation spreads in a business structure that is more decentralized and low in complexity and formality (organic structure). As leaders remove the mechanistic organizational barriers that exist, they promote an environment of innovation.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to innovation is the way an organization operates — the way it communicates, leads, and makes decisions. Click To Tweet

Barriers that Hinder Innovation

Ten organizational barriers that hinder innovation are the following:

  1. Highly specialized jobs;
  2. Centralized decision making;
  3. Top down communication;
  4. Rigid hierarchical relationships;
  5. Extensive written communication, limited verbal communication;
  6. Highly formalized processes;
  7. Limited employee involvement in decision making;
  8. Extensive use of policies, procedures, rules, and manuals;
  9. Limited information sharing; and
  10. Fixed job duties that rarely change over time.
It is difficult for centralized, complex, and bureaucratic organizations to innovate effectively. They don't change often enough and when they do change it is too-little-too-late. Click To Tweet

In addition to active sponsorship, communication, and making needed staff realignments, organizational  leaders must also assess and change business operations.  As leaders work to remove these outdated, mechanistic barriers from a business age that no longer exists, they will  positively affect  innovation in their organizations. With perseverance, they can help their organizations to ride the waves of change.


Video: 10 Reasons Why Organizations Can’t Innovate


Too many policies, procedures, and rules are a sure way to kill innovation. They suppress employee creativity and innovation. Click To Tweet
Written by Robert Tanner | Copyrighted Material | All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Robert Tanner, MBA

Welcome to my leadership blog. I'm the Founder & Principal Consultant of Business Consulting Solutions LLC, a certified practitioner of psychometric assessments, and a former Adjunct Professor of Management. As a leadership professional, I bring 20+ years of real world experience at all levels of management.

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