Multinationals from emerging markets are embracing frugal innovation. While resource constraints and business opportunities targeting the underserved have been identified as core reasons for the same, we heed to researchers calls for a fine-grained understanding of the formal and informal institutions that promote frugal innovation. Using jugaad – an ingenious form of indigenous frugal innovation practiced by Indian multinationals as a study context, we utilize a neo-institutional theoretical lens to explore its antecedents and outcomes while explicating the organizational characteristics that enable and sustain jugaad. Our qualitative study with eight Indian multinationals finds that jugaad is a response to a complex combination of myriad institutional factors that challenge these multinationals to innovate frugally, enabled by specific organizational characteristics that ultimately lead to jugaad outcomes. Our findings are presented in a conceptual framework that advances the understanding of jugaad and extends neo-institutional theory to this context. We also provide some future direction for this contemporary stream of research.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Agnihotri, A. 2015. Low-cost innovation in emerging markets. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 23(5): 399–411.
Ahlstrom, D. 2010. Innovation and growth: How business contributes to society. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(3): 11–24.
Ajith, P., & Goyal, A. 2016. Jugaad innovation in Indian rural marketing: Meaning and role. SCMS Journal of Indian Management, 13(1): 5–18.
Anderson, S. W., & Lillis, A. M. 2011. Corporate frugality: Theory, measurement and practice. Contemporary Accounting Research, 28(4): 1349–1387.
Ashwin, A. S., Krishnan, R. T., & George, R. 2015. Family firms in India: Family involvement, innovation and agency and stewardship behaviors. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(4): 869–900.
Baker, T., & Nelson, R. E. 2005. Creating something from nothing: Resource construction through entrepreneurial bricolage. Administrative Science Quarterly, 50(3): 329–366.
Batjargal, B., Hitt, M. A., Tsui, A. S., Arregle, J.-L., Webb, J. W., & Miller, T. L. 2013. Institutional polycentrism, entrepreneurs’ social networks, and new venture growth. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4): 1024–1049.
Berger, R., & Herstein, R. 2014. The evolution of business ethics in India. International Journal of Social Economics, 41(2): 1073–1086.
Berman, B. 2015. How to compete effectively against low-cost competitors. Business Horizons, 58(1): 87–97.
Bhatia, H., & Tiwatne, A. K. 2018. Foreign direct investment in India: A macroeconomic review. Journal of Commerce & Accounting Research, 7(4): 13–20.
Bhatti, Y. A., & Ventresca, M. 2013. How can ‘frugal innovation’ be conceptualized?. Said Business School Working Paper Series, Oxford. http://ssrn.com/abstract=2203552, Accessed Sept. 25, 2019.
Birtchnell, T. 2011. Jugaad as systemic risk and disruptive innovation in India. Contemporary South Asia, 19(4): 357–372.
BMI Research 2017. India operational risk report Q1 2018. London:Business Monitor International Ltd..
Boeije, H. 2010. Analysis in qualitative research. London:Sage.
Brem, A., & Wolfram, P. 2014. Research and development from the bottom up – Introduction of terminologies for new product development in emerging markets. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 3(9): 1–22.
Brunk, K. H. 2010. Exploring origins of ethical company/brand perceptions – A consumer perspective of corporate ethics. Journal of Business Research, 63(3): 255–262.
Bruton, G. D., Ahlstrom, D., & Li, H.-L. 2010. Institutional theory and entrepreneurship: Where are we now and where do we need to move in the future? Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 34(3): 421–440.
Bunduchi, R. 2017. Legitimacy-seeking mechanisms in product innovation: A qualititative study. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 34(3): 315–342.
Cappelli, P., Singh, H., Singh, J., & Useem, M. 2010. The India way: Lessons for the U.S. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(2): 6–24.
Chan, C., & Ananthram, S. 2019. Religion-based decision making in Indian multinationals: A multi-faith study of ethical virtues and mindsets. Journal of Business Ethics, 156(3): 651–677.
Chan, C., & Ananthram, S. 2019. A neo-institutional perspective on ethical decision-making. Asia Pacific Journal of Management. In press.
Chan, E. S. W., & Hawkins, R. 2010. Attitude towards EMSs in an international hotel: An exploratory case study. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29(4): 641–651.
Chandan, H. C. 2016. Corruption, organization and culture in contemporary India. In A. Malik, & V. Pereira (Eds.). Indian culture and work organisations in transition. New York: Routledge.
Constitution of India (2007). https://www.india.gov.in/sites/upload_files/npi/files/coi_part_full.pdf, Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
Das, D. 2019. Academic resilience among children from disadvantaged social groups in India. Social Indicators Research, 145(2): 719–739.
De Massis, A., Audretsch, D., Uhlaner, L., & Kammerlander, N. 2018. Innovation with limited resources: Management lessons from the German Mittelstand. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 35(1): 125–146.
Desai, A. V. 1984. Achievements and limitations of India’s technological capability. In M. Fransman, & K. King (Eds.). Technological capability in the third world. London: Macmillan.
Devi, W. P., & Kumar, H. 2018. Frugal innovations and actor-network theory: A case of bamboo shoots processing in Manipur, India. European Journal of Development Research, 30(1): 66–83.
DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. 1983. The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(April): 147–160.
DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. 1991. The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago, IL:University of Chicago Press.
Cunha, M. P., Rego, A., Oliveira, P., Rosado, P., & Habib, N. 2014. Product innovation in resource-poor environments: Three research streams. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(2): 202–201.
Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4): 532–550.
Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Nachmias, D. 1996. Research methods in the social sciences. New York, NY:St. Martin’s Press.
Gangal, N. 2016. Five Indian companies ranked among world’s 100 most innovative. Forbes India. http://www.forbesindia.com/article/special/five-indian-companies-ranked-among-worlds-100-most-innovative/44143/1. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
Hallett, T., & Ventresca, M. 2006. Inhabited institutions: Social interactions and organizational firms in Gouldner’s patterns of industrial bureaucracy. Theory and Society, 35(2): 213–236.
Haq, R. 2013. Intersectionality of gender and other forms of identity. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 28(3): 171–184.
Hargrave, T. J., & Van de Ven, A. H. 2017. Integrating dialectical and paradox perspectives on managing contradictions in organizations. Organization Studies, 38(3–4): 319–339.
Hearn, B. 2015. Institutional influences on board composition of international joint venture firms listing on emerging stock exchanges: Evidence from Africa. Journal of World Business, 50(1): 205–219.
Hitt, M. A., Li, D., & Xu, K. 2016. International strategy: From local to global and beyond. Journal of World Business, 51(1): 58–73.
Horner, R. 2015. Responding to the rising power “threat”. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 11(3–4): 285–300.
Jauregui, B. 2014. Provisional agency in India: Jugaad and legitimation of corruption. American Ethnologist, 41(1): 76–91.
Jeffrey, C. 2014. The students who feel they have the right to cheat. www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29950843. .
Joshi, R. G., Chelliah, J., & Ramanathan, V. 2015. Exploring grassroots innovation phenomenon through the lived experience of an Indian grassroots innovator. South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, 4(1): 27–44.
Khilji, S. E., Mroczkowski, T., & Assudani, R. 2012. Balancing growth and innovation in Indian biotech firms. South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, 1(2): 256–275.
Khoury, T., Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Dau, L. 2014. Institutional outsiders and insiders: The response of foreign and domestic inventors to the quality of intellectual property rights protection. Global Strategy Journal, 4(3): 200–220.
Krishnan, R. T. 2012. Innovation strategies of Indian market leaders. Journal of Indian Business Research, 4(2): 92–96.
Krishnan, R. T., & Dabholkar, V. 2013. 8 steps to innovation: Going from jugaad to excellence. Noida:Harper Collins.
Kvale, S. 1996. InterViews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.
Kvale, S. 2008. Doing interviews. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.
Lander, M. W., & Heugens, P. P. M. A. R. 2017. Better together: Using meta-analysis to explore complementarities between ecological and institutional theories of organization. Organization Studies, 38(11): 1573–1601.
Lawrence, T. B., & Suddaby, R. 2006. Institutions and institutional work. In S. R. Clegg, C. Hardy, T. B. Lawrence, & W. R. Nord (Eds.). Handbook of organizational studies, 2nd edn: 215–254. London: Sage.
Lindsay, V. 2004. Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis: Application in an export study. In R. Marschan-Piekkari, & C. Welch (Eds.). Handbook of qualitative research methods for international business: 486–506. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Luo, Y., & Child, J. 2015. A composition-based view of firm growth. Management and Organization Review, 11(1): 379–411.
Luo, Y., Xue, Q., & Han, B. 2010. How emerging market governments promote outward FDI: Experience from China. Journal of World Business, 45(1): 68–79.
Make in India. 2018. Sectors. http://www.makeinindia.com/sectors, Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
Maradana, R. P., Pradhan, R. P., Dash, S., Gaurav, K., Jayakumar, M., & Chatterjee, D. 2017. Does innovation promote economic growth? Evidence from European countries. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 6(1): 1–23.
Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. 1994. Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.
Mitchell, M. L., & Jolley, J. M. 2012. Research design explained, 8th ed. Wadsworth Belmont, CA:Cengage Learning.
Nair, A., Guldiken, O., Fainshmidt, S., & Pezeshkan, A. 2015. Innovation in India: A review of past research and future directions. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(4): 925–958.
Nederhof, A. J. 1985. Methods of coping with social desirability bias: A review. European Journal of Social Psychology, 15(3): 263–280.
Nell, P. C., Puck, J., & Heidenreich, S. 2015. Strictly limited choice or agency? Institutional duality, legitimacy, and subsidiaries. Journal of World Business, 50(2): 302–311.
Ojha, A. K. 2014. MNCs in India: Focus on frugal innovation. Journal of Indian Business Research, 6(1): 4–28.
Peng, M. W. 2001. How entrepreneurs create wealth in transition economies. Academy of Management Executive, 15(1): 95–108.
Perry, C. 1998. Processes of a case study methodology for postgraduate research in marketing. European Journal of Marketing, 32(9–10): 785–802.
Perry, C. 2001. Case research in marketing. The Marketing Review, 1(3): 303–323.
Prabhu, J. 2017. Frugal innovation: Doing more with less for more. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 1–22. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsta.2016.0372, Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
Prabhu, J., & Jain, S. 2015. Innovation and entrepreneurship in India: Understanding jugaad. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(4): 843–868.
Prahalad, C. K., & Mashelkar, R. A. 2010. Innovation’s holy grail. Harvard Business Review, 88(7–8): 132–141.
Pulakat, H. 2011. India will be a Centre of frugal engineering in year 2012. The Economic Times, 31 Dec, New Delhi.
Radjou, N., & Euchner, J. 2016. The principles of frugal innovation: An interview with Navi Radjou. Research-Technology Management, 59(4): 13–20.
Radjou, N., & Prabhu, J. 2015. Frugal innovation: How to do more with less. New York:Public Affairs.
Radjou, N., Prabhu, J., & Ahuja, S. 2012. Jugaad innovation: Think frugal, be flexible, generate breakthrough growth. San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass.
Rajeshwari, K. 2017. New product development – A FMCG perspective. Chennai:Notion Press.
Ravishankar, M. N., Pan, S. L., & Myers, M. D. 2013. Information technology offshoring in India: A postcolonial perspective. European Journal of Information Systems, 22(4): 387–402.
Renner, B. 2017. Consumer products industry outlook: Newer approaches and bolder moves. Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/consumer-business/us-cb-2018-consumer-products-industry-outlook.pdf. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
Reuber, A. R. 2016. An assemblage-theoretic perspective on the internationalization processes of family firms. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(6): 1269–1286.
Richards, L. 1999. Using NVivo in qualitative research. London:Sage.
Robertson, C., & Fadil, P. A. 1999. Ethical decision making in multinational organizations: A culture-based model. Journal of Business Ethics, 19(4): 385–392.
Rogers, E. M. 2003. Diffusion of innovations. New York:Free Press.
Roiland, D. 2016. Frugality, a positive principle to promote sustainable development. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 29(4): 571–585.
Scott, W. R. 2001. Institutions and organizations, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.
Scuotto, V., & Shukla, S. 2018. Being innovator or ‘imovator’: Current dilemma? Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 9(1): 212–227.
Sethi, A. 2015. The mystery of India’s deadly exam scam. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/the-mystery-of-indias-deadly-exam-scam, Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
Silverman, D. 2000. Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook. London:Sage.
Soni, P., & Krishnan, R. T. 2014. Frugal innovation: Aligning theory, practice, and public policy. Journal of Indian Business Research, 6(1): 29–47.
Srivastava, S. C. 2015. Innovating for the future: Charting the innovation agenda for firms in developing countries. Journal of Indian Business Research, 7(4): 314–320.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. 1997. Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.
Tarei, P. K., Thakkar, J. J., & Nag, B. 2018. A hybrid approach for quantifying supply chain risk and prioritzing the risk drivers: A case of Indian petroleum supply chain. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 29(3): 533–569.
The World Bank. 2016. India’s poverty profile. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/infographic/2016/05/27/india-s-poverty-profile, Accessed Sept. 27, 2019.
Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W., & Lounsbury, M. 2012. The institutional logics perspective: A new approach to culture, structure, and process. Oxford:Oxford University Press.
Tiwari, R., Kalogerakis, K., & Herstatt, C. 2017. Frugal innovation and anologies: Some propositions for product development in emerging economies. Working paper. 84. Hamburg University of Technology.
Tiwari, R., & Herstatt, C. 2012. Assessing India’s lead market potential for cost-effective innovations. Journal of Indian Business Research, 4(2): 97–115.
Trimble, C. 2012. Reverse innovation and the emerging-market growth imperative. Ivey Business Journal, 76(2): 19–21.
Welch, C. L., Welch, D. E., & Tahvanainen, M. 2008. Managing the HR dimension of international project operations. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(2): 205–222.
Yin, R. K. 2009. Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.
Zeschky, M., Widenmayer, B., & Gassmann, O. 2011. Frugal innovation in emerging markets. Research-Technology Management, 54(4): 38–45.
We would like to thank Associate Editor Stephen Lui and the anonymous reviewers who provided constructive guidance throughout the review process.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Appendix 1. Semi-structured interview schedule
Appendix 1. Semi-structured interview schedule
How do you define jugaad (in business)? Give examples
What do you think make up jugaad? Give examples.
Why is jugaad so prevalent in India? Identify reasons using examples.
In India, what do you think is/are responsible for the manifestation and practice of jugaad in business? Please elaborate using examples.
What is a jugaad mindset at the company level? (Identify relevant characteristics). Give examples.
What are the benefits of jugaad for the company? Give examples.
What are the challenges of jugaad for the company? Give examples.
Note: Each question had between two and five follow-up questions.
About this article
Cite this article
Ananthram, S., Chan, C. Institutions and frugal innovation: The case of Jugaad. Asia Pac J Manag (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10490-019-09700-1
- Frugal innovation
- Neo-institutional perspective