Theoretical lenses and domain definitions in innovation research
European Journal of Marketing
229 - 263
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Purpose - This study aims to scrutinize the meaning and domain of "innovation" by providing an extensive theory-driven review of the new product literature in marketing, management and engineering. The overall objective is to classify the recent literature on innovation and to illustrate theoretically derived discourses in the study of innovation. Design/methodology/approach - The paper organizes this literature by providing typologies of discourses, which define innovation. Based on our review of 238 articles from a comprehensive set of journals publishing innovation research, we propose a theoretical divide in the innovation literature. Findings - Theoretical underpinnings, namely adoption/diffusion theory versus the resource-based/contingency theory view, form one dimension of the typology. Jointly considered with the other two dimensions - level of analysis and customer vs firm perspective - a framework is formed of the different discourses and conceptualisations in the innovation literature. Originality/value - Past researchers have always proposed a definition of innovation that was embedded in a typology of innovation types; in contrast, the paper allows the theoretical discourses to unveil meanings of innovation and associated constructs (and hence it starts with theory specification, not construct definition). It argues for starting with theory as the basic division and proposes a theory driven typology. Through its theoretical genesis, the paper wishes to create a shared understanding among academics and practitioners of what constitutes innovation and constructs within the related theoretical net. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.