Unleashing innovation across ethical and moral boundaries: The dark side of using innovation for self-advantage

Daniel Etse, Adela McMurray, Nuttawuth Muenjohn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The ethical dimension of innovation, a hitherto neglected research area, has started attracting scholarly interest. This is of particular relevance considering the increasing rate of ethical infractions that characterise the innovation and technology landscape. Though the need for ethical and responsible innovation is being highlighted in the extant literature, there appears to be a lack of research focus on related unethical practices. In this chapter we draw attention to the concept of unethical innovation process and highlight practices that characterise such a process. Using Theranos, a medical technology firm as our case study, and content analysis as our methodological approach, we explored the characteristics and facilitating factors of the unethical innovation process. The findings highlight eight major related characteristics and eleven major facilitating factors. This chapter makes three significant contributions to the field of innovation management by doing the following: it introduces the concept of unethical innovation process; highlights the major related characteristics; and identifies the major related facilitating factors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Innovation
EditorsAdela McMurray, Nuttawuth Muenjohn, Chamindika Weerakoon
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783030599164
ISBN (Print)9783030599157
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Unethical innovation
  • Theranos
  • Innovation
  • Ethics


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