IMI - Innovation Management Institute

Social factors influencing idea evaluation

Authors Erkko Eeva
Project RINE
Type Thesis
Release date Jan. 27, 2013

Abstract

The objective of this bachelor’s thesis is to identify which social factors influence the early stage idea evaluation in innovation activities. The social factors mean the characteristics of the presenter and the decision maker, as well as the context and situation. This study excludes the factors of the idea itself, because a lot of research has already been done on that subject.

This bachelor’s thesis is a literature review that provides an analysis of the research on social factors influencing idea evaluation. The main research question of this bachelor’s thesis is: Which factors of the presenter, decision maker, situation and context influence the decision to choose an idea for future development?

The social factors found to influence the decision making are the attractiveness, creativity, and passion of the idea presenter. Also the presenter’s experience and skills of social interaction have an influence. These characteristics indicate better performance, ability to generate divergent solutions, and better risk management.

The way the social factors influence the evaluation depends on the combination and nature of the characteristics, as well as the context, and the strength of the relationship. Actors, who know each other well, trust each other more, avoid misinterpretations, and find consensus more easily. The decision also depends on the characteristics of the decision maker, including age, intuitiveness, openness, and experience. A decision maker, who tries to simplify the complex and ambiguous innovation process, may miss important information, and make severe mistakes.

This thesis shows that idea evaluation is influenced by the social factors despite the fact that it has been neglected in the traditional research. If the influence of social factors on idea evaluation would be studied more in the organizational context, organizations could become more aware of how the factors affect the decision, and how decision makers should regard the decisions influenced by social factors.

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