Reflexivity and flexibility: Complementary routes to innovation?

Maria Luisa Farnese*, Roberta Fida, Stefano Livi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-419
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Management and Organization
Issue number3
Early online date5 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • flexibility
  • innovation
  • interaction
  • organisational learning
  • Reflexivity


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