Limits on innovativeness in local government : Examining capacity, complexity, and dynamism in organizational task environments

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-683
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration
Issue number3
Online published2 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


Theory and evidence on the diffusion and antecedents of innovation in public organizations demonstrate that organizations respond to their environment and react by being more or less innovative. However, questions about the limits of responses to organizational task environments remain unexplored: in short, what is the appropriate level of environmental capacity and when does the environment become too complex or dynamic for innovation to occur? This study examines non-linear capacity, complexity, and dynamic environments in an archival panel of 405 English local governments using primary and secondary data from a number of sources. Findings indicate that non-linearities effect perceived innovativeness in relation to political and social capacity, and political dynamism in an inverted U shape, and in a U shape for community capacity. The implications of these findings for the study of public service innovation are considered.