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Reflexivity and flexibility: Complementary routes to innovation?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2015

Maria Luisa Farnese*
Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Roberta Fida
Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Stefano Livi
Department of Social and Developmental Psychology Sapienza, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Corresponding author:


Flexibility and reflexivity are essential processes for organisational innovation. The aim of the paper is to investigate their concurrent and interactive contribution in enhancing two innovation outcomes (the organisational openness towards innovation and the actual innovation adoption). Participants were 357 Italian employees. Results of a hierarchical regression model showed the role of both factors in fostering the two innovation outcomes under study. In addition, results showed the complementary interaction of reflexivity and flexibility, outlining two possible routes to innovation. Specifically, reflexivity appears to be a generative learning process capable of encouraging innovation in low-flexibility conditions, whereas flexibility tends to encourage innovation in low-reflexivity conditions. The findings provide empirical support of their roles as complementary resources for innovation, which has been under-examined in the literature.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 2015 

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