Innovation in a Target Culture

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Innovation in a Target Culture
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands

Many organizations today have a 'target culture', which is characterized by strong performance management, performance monitoring, individual target setting. Furthermore, such organizations are beholden to their shareholders.
How does such a culture relate to innovation? Some argue that innovation is rarely thriving in organizations that are based on such culture. The following three reasons are mentioned for this:
1. Although it must be mentioned that a target organizational culture can fit in particular settings, it does have high levels of fear, stress and anxiety, especially when targets are difficult to meet.
2. The targets set for individuals can provide useful directions to them, however in a worst-case scenario they can undermine employees’ dignity and ego, their autonomy, productivity and ultimately their performance. A target culture can have harmful long-term effects.
3. An organizational target culture has a high level of conformity, which can undermine creativity that is needed to fuel innovation.

⇒ What do you think of these statements? Are there ways or scenarios in which a target culture can actually spur innovation?
Source: Powerpoint “Innovation Culture: Reducing Fear in Organizations



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