Designing chief innovation officer positions: a strategic contingency framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many companies have recently created a new Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) position as a mechanism to help strengthen firm innovation capabilities, but little research is available to help them structure and support it for success. This paper works to illuminate key features and challenges associated with these positions. It does so by integrating findings from roundtable discussions among innovation management executives with scholarly organizational design concepts including competitive strategy, exploration and exploitation, organizational ambidexterity, alignment, change, and power. The paper’s centerpiece is a strategic contingency framework designed to tailor CIO position configurations to different core firm strategies. The framework is built around the well-established and validated Miles and Snow strategic typology. It defines key roles and responsibilities of a CIO position depending on their firm’s strategic orientation (i.e., Defender, Prospector, or Analyzer). The framework also identifies specific organizational resources and support needed for the CIO in each case. The paper concludes by discussing broader insights from our analysis of the CIO position and implications for management practitioners and scholars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Organization Design
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Chief innovation officer
  • Contingency theory
  • Organizational typology
  • Organizing for innovation
  • Strategic orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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