ABSTRACT Studies show that one of the most important factors for innovation success is that leaders support and involve in innovation efforts. Even though radical innovation is essential for long-term success, and that radical innovation requires different managerial approaches than incremental innovation, little attention has been paid to the relationship between leaders and radical innovation. This study aims to focus on this particular relationship from the viewpoint of large Swedish manufacturing companies. The main purpose in this qualitative benchmarking study is to investigate what leadership practices that stimulate radical innovation and to give SKF, the project sponsor, recommendations out of the findings. Leadership in this context refers to a fusion of traditional leadership and management approaches. Empirical findings demonstrate that it is necessary to establish an innovation process specifically for radical innovation. Additionally, a culture where risk and failure is accepted is essential for radical innovation success, and it is beneficial to define the concept of radical innovation, not only related to technology and products but also comprising the whole company. Findings also show that communicating a clear direction of where innovation is desired, educating about innovation, and providing time and financial resources for innovation are all important leadership practices in order to stimulate radical innovation
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