In progress Unpacking the Dynamics of Innovative Teams



Effective teamwork is central to creating an innovative organization. While an increasing number of firms alter their teams’ way of working (e.g. transitioning from Waterfall to Agile, introducing sprintwork in teams), little is understood of the implications of these changes on roles, routines and relationships. As these new management systems are implemented, researching the dynamic processes that emerge is critical to support the development and maintenance of high-performing teams.
In this PhD project, we collaborate closely with multiple organizations to explore and develop insights about the routine work and group interactions that innovative teams experience during such change. The research project employs mixed methodologies, pairing qualitative approaches with survey and quasi-experimental methods to uncover the impacts of these dynamics on performance, creativity and well-being.


Groups/Teams, Power, Routines, Creativity, Social identity theory

Time frame

2015 - 2019


Examples of topics for a Ph.D. project within this theme are the following:

  • Leadership in innovation

Innovation, and especially radical innovation, generally starts with a vague and ambiguous idea: An extremely cheap car, a very attractive cool computer, a new way to generate energy etc. Such ideas are visions of the future, images of how the future could look like, and if the founder of the idea is to sell his/her innovation, (s)he should better be good at communicating his/her vision. Even the most promising ideas need to overcome obstacles: People naturally say no, rather than yes to new endeavors! This is the heart of this thesis topic: How can people communicate visions about innovations most effectively? How can they persuade others that, indeed, it is this innovation that is needed! To some extent we investigate a hidden topic in innovation management: The politics of innovation. Students that are interested in this topic should be willing to do quantitative research in the laboratory or in the field regarding vision communication. Most likely the theoretical basis of their ideas will come from political science, leadership, and/or social psychology. Further information: Daan Stam,


  • Disruptive innovation.

Disruptive innovations drastically change the basis of competition and reshape the marketplace. A recent trend also documents so-called ‘frugal’ innovations which focus on the consumer needs in developing economies, and are subsequently commercialized and disrupt the developed markets. Despite prevalence of the disruptive innovations in business, our knowledge on the drivers and process of disruptive innovations is limited. This project will explain why organizations pursue disruptive innovation strategies and how organizations can better manage their innovation process to foster disruptive innovations. In addition to clear academic contributions, this project will provide invaluable insights to executives in managing disruptive innovations and protecting themselves against disruptive threats. A full project description is available from Murat Tarakci,


Other potential topics

  • Standardization: Standards diminish uncertainty to acceptable levels, thereby open up room for innovations. , since they. The focus in this research topic lies on how standards are developed and implemented. Henk de Vries or Knut Blind 
  • Idea management. Managers increasingly rely on their employees to take the initiative, go beyond their assigned tasks, take charge, and initiate new ideas in addition to their day-to-day jobs. The question is how idea generation and development can best be stimulated and organized. Dirk Deichmann,


Managing innovation in the supply chain. This research project investigates innovation in supply chains, e.g. the use of different control mechanisms for innovation and for collaboration. Serge Rijsdijk,


Supervisory Team

Jan van den Ende
Professor of Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Promotor