Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Employee Innovative Behavior: A Conceptual Framework

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Employee Innovative Behavior: A Conceptual Framework

Article excerpt

This article attempts to synthesize the results of previous research on innovative behavior at work that appeared scattered and integrate such results into a cohesive whole. The proposed framework is a multi-component construct which provides holistic view of various factors that affect employee innovative behavior. Such factors have been categorized into individual, interpersonal and contextual. Psychological capital and psychological empowerment have been identified as individual factors whereas transformational leadership and leader-member exchange, and knowledge sharing in social network are put under the category of inter-personal factors. Job context and supportive organizational climate emerged as contextual factors.

Introduction

Innovative behavior on the part of a large number of employees is significant for sustainable performance for all kinds of enterprises and for a variety of jobs therein. Therefore, the philosophy of innovation needs to be embedded in the organizational culture. "The foundation of innovation is ideas, but it is people who develop, carry, react to, and modify ideas" (Van de Ven 1986:592) and they require novel and divergent thinking whereby they contribute to transform their novel and useful ideas into developing processes, products or services of better quality. "Employees can contribute to innovation in organizations in numerous ways, but the three are particularly common and stand out as important across a wide array of organizations and industries: generating new ideas, sharing ideas with colleagues / supervisors and spreading innovation throughout the organization, and working to implement those innovations themselves or helping others to do so" (Ng & Feldman, 2010 : 1068). All these actions constitute innovative behavior at work. It may be defined as "individuals' behaviors directed towards the initiation and intentional introduction of new and useful ideas and processes, products or procedure within a work role, group or organization" (De Jong, 2006: 19). Innovation is the process by which new and applicable ideas generated through one's creativity and then such ideas are captured, recognized, filtered, clarified, modified, further developed, and finally commercialized and the process also includes overcoming a variety of obstacles that come in the way and it is the creativity that fuels the conduits of innovation process. Innovative behavior may be understood "as a multiple-stage process in which an individual recognizes a problem for which she or he generates novel or adopted ideas and solutions, works to promote and build support for them, and produces an applicable prototype or model for the use and benefit of the organization or parts within it (Carmeli, Meitar & Weisberg, 2006: 78). Creativity is a critical element of our capability to innovate. And innovation is a crucial factor to improve quality of work life, to enhance the level of our competitiveness and to ensure the sustainability of our development. "Creativity is the first step in the process of innovation starting with generation of novelty (invention) and moving on to 'exploitation' of it what we call 'insertion' into a functioning system" (Cropley, 2009: 260). Creativity is the process of producing or developing novel ideas whilst innovative behavior is about putting them into action. The base of innovation is new and applicable ideas, but it is innovative behavior of the employees through which such ideas are adopted, and implemented for achieving some business or social purposes. Organizations must stabilize their innovation process by creating and nurturing an environment in which creativity of the employees is flourished and it is reflected in their actions. Previous researchers have studied organizational variables, such as perceived organizational support, influence and leadership factors, and contextual /cultural variables. However, some empirical studies have revealed that psychological capital or competencies or self-efficacy of the employees generally decide the end results of incremental innovation. …

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