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The growth of franchising in America and Europe since the 1970s1-4 has led to this business form assuming increasing impor-tance in a number of academic debates including the fields of law marketing organi-zation theory services growth etc One of the most interesting issues here is the potential of franchising to provide self-employment opportunities After all not only are most franchisees small businesses but so are most franchisors For instance in Britain half of the franchise systems in existence in 1995 were less than five years old and 43 per cent had ten outlets or less5 Franchises are based ideally on a proven and tried-and-tested recipe for business success The importance of replication and standardization which this implies would appear to offer a short-lived licence for success in a world undergoing an ever-accelerating rate of change Thus the question arises how do franchise organizations innovate and cope with change An adjunct to this question is the issue of the role of franchisees who while not independent in the sense of the conventional small business person certainly do not see themselves as conventional employees either and have certain expectations of participation in the processes of which they are an integral part In todays environment of rapid technological and market change shortening product life cycles and changing customer tastes the strategic management of innovation has attracted increased attention among researchers particularly pertaining to innovation management and implementation For example recent strategic management discourse has been emphatic on how sustainable competitive advantages and superior economic rents derive from the process of innovation Much of this debate has concentrated on structural environmental and individual correlates of innovation rather than developing an eclectic or multidimensional model of the correlates of innovationFurther while this stream of research and debate has added to the level of understanding of the process of innovation within organizations generally few texts have examined the causes of and barriers to innovation within franchises specifically This article begins to
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