Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel 445
Benchmarking of innovation processes requires the reliable assessment of nondocumented organizational characteristics. Based on key informant literature we discuss the difficulties of gaining reliable information from respondents and identify potential sources for heterogeneous perceptions among different respondents. We apply an existing benchmarking approach to critical success factors of innovation processes in a comprehensive case study of a major German industrial corporation. We find that perceptions differ substantially among the individual respondents. In particular, we observe different functional perceptions between respondents from Marketing and Research & Development. The results are consistent with expectations from interface theory. These perceptual differences have a severe impact on the managerial conclusions drawn from benchmarking. There appears to be no single reliable source of information within an organization. Furthermore, variances among informants' assessments should be recognized and regarded as valuable information for the benchmarking process. It is our recommendation that multiple informants ought to be included in the evaluation of innovation processes in future benchmarking studies.