What hampers innovation? External stakeholders, the organization, groups and individuals: a systematic review of empirical barrier research

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


Innovation is essential for organizations. A variety of factors which hamper, delay or block innovation, so-called barriers, have been researched by a multitude of studies for more than 30 years. We map the field by a systematic review of 188 empirical studies on barriers complemented by a citation analysis, which highlights the fragmentation of barrier research. We propose the External environment Organization Group Individual barrier model (EOGI barrier model) aiming at a more encompassing identification of barriers which unites previous findings, acknowledges different level of analysis, and draws on theory (stakeholder theory, managerial levers of dynamic capabilities). The manifestations of innovation barriers identified in the reviewed studies are classified according to the EOGI barrier model: external environment (external stakeholders: investor, potential employee, supplier, competitor, customer, state, society), organization (managerial levers of dynamic capabilities: strategy, structure, size, resources, organizational learning, organizational culture), group (team structure, team climate, team processes, composition of members depending on their characteristics, leadership style), and individual (managers’ attitudes and abilities, employees’ attitudes and abilities). Additionally, we address strategies to reduce barriers. The research synthesis provides five directions for future research concerning multiple level of analysis, theory-driven sub-categories of each level, interaction of barriers, context specificity of barriers, and origin of the data (level of innovativeness, national culture, differences between developing, newly industrialized and developed countries).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-148
Number of pages36
JournalManagement Review Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015



  • Barrier, Innovation barrier, Multilevel analysis, Systematic review