Assessing strategic importance of innovation to multinational corporations through content analysis of corporate annual reports


Arron Rodrigues (Innovia Technology)

Tim Minshall (Centre for Technology Management, IfM)


Innovation is often viewed as a key growth driver in multinational corporations. However, it is difficult to measure the attitudes of company executives towards innovation. Using quantitative content analysis, we analyse annual reports of multinational corporations. We infer the emphasis on innovation within the annual reports and therefore the importance that executives place on innovation. In the study, we find that most annual reports and companies place little emphasis on innovation. Between 2000 and 2012, we do not find clear trends in the emphasis on innovation in annual reports. However, we find a small number of companies systematically emphasising innovation. We highlight initial findings about the relative emphasis placed on innovation by different companies and suggest future research directions.


Keywords: Innovation, executive strategy, content analysis, communication


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