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Title: Managing Controversies in the Fuzzy Front end
Authors: Christiansen, John K.
Gasparin, Marta
First Published: 12-Jun-2016
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Creativity and Innovation Management, 2016, DOI: 10.1111/caim.12174
Abstract: This research investigates the controversies that emerge in the fuzzy front end (FFE) and how they are closed so the innovation process can move on. The fuzzy front has been characterized in the literature as a very critical phase, but controversies in the FFE have not been studied before. The analysis investigates the microprocesses around the controversies that emerge during the fuzzy front end of four products. Five different types of controversies are identified: profit, production, design, brand and customers/market. Each controversy represents a threat, but also an opportunity to search for new solutions in the unpredictable non-linear processes. The study uses an ethnographic approach using qualitative data from interviews, company documents, external communication and marketing material, minutes of meetings, informal conversations and observations. The analysis of four FFE processes demonstrates how the fuzzy front requires managers to deal with controversies that emerge from many different places and involve both human and non-human actors. Closing the controversies requires managers to take account of the situation, identify the problem that needs to be addressed, and initiate a search for solutions. Management is actively involved in this process, in many different ways. Among the implications from this analysis is that the managers' role in the FFE is multifaceted and each controversy seems to require different skills and competencies.
DOI Link: 10.1111/caim.12174
ISSN: 1467-8691
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Description: Following the embargo period the above license applies to this version.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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