Academic journal article E+M Ekonomie a Management

Innovations among People. How Positive Relationships at Work Can Trigger Innovation Creation

Academic journal article E+M Ekonomie a Management

Innovations among People. How Positive Relationships at Work Can Trigger Innovation Creation

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nowadays it is more and more frequently emphasized that organization's ability to innovate is an explanatory factor in determining its competitiveness. It refers to the fact that contemporary organizations act under permanent pressure of economic, technological, political and social changes. Taking into account such an unstable environment, the issue that becomes significant is enhancing organizational capacity to respond to external changes with some novel products, processes, ideas etc. (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Bessant, Lamming, Noke, & Philips, 2005; Bessant & Tidd, 2007; Ellonen, Blomqvist, & Puumalainen, 2008; Pietrzak & tapinska, 2015).

An innovation is a very wide and multidimensional concept. The present-day approach suggests that an innovation is every result of human activities contributing to the improvement of human life quality; every activity which enables one to act better, more efficiently, more effectively. Such results may include new or improved products and technologies, new ways of service provision, new standards of products and services or activities which distinguish one organization from the other (Damanpour, 1996; Bessant & Tidd, 2007; Baregheh, Rowley, & Sambrook, 2009).

With the increasing popularity of the issues concerning the necessity for being innovative to strengthen and develop all kinds of modern organizations, the conditions that promote the emergence and implementation of innovations have also become the subject of reflection. Nowadays we have already known that innovations do not emerge by leaps, in a spontaneous way. There is a considerable agreement among researchers on the fact that innovations emerge within organizations as a consequence of building inside them the 'healthy' organizational culture and the climate that promotes creative thinking and acting (Burke & Litwin, 1992; Ekvall, 1996; Naran joValencia, Jimenez-Jimenez & Sanz-Valle, 2011; Wolf, Kaudela-Baum, & Meissner, 2012; Mitrovic, Grubic-Nesic, Milisavljevic, Melovic, & Babinkova, 2014).

Such climate supportive of innovations is a specific combination of elements connected with manners of communication within the organization, positive interpersonal exchange, organizational integration, the employee sense of safety, co-participation and co-operation of the workers, support for creative ideas, openness and trust existent in the organization, the organization's dynamism and attitude to diversity (Isaksen, Lauer, Ekval, & Britz, 2001; Loewe & Dominiquini, 2006; Isaksen, & Ekvall, 2010). Among aforementioned factors, in the light of growing research movement towards positive processes in organizations (Positive Organizational Scholarship; Cameron, Dutton, & Quinn, 2003) we focus our attention on positive relationships at work. Additionally, together with theories proving the importance of the debate dimension in innovation climate we include in our analysis the elements of internal communication in the organization.

The aim of our paper is to present the role of positive relationships at work and communication facets in stimulation innovations emergence in an organization. As our assumption is that positive relationships at work are highly associated with openness and trust among employees, in the empirical part of the paper we focus on relations between positive employee relationships, informal meetings, open internal communication and individual commitment to innovation. As the outcome of the research conducted in 200 companies we develop a model of relationships between aforementioned variables. Contributing to the existing theory on the innovation climate our findings provide also useful managerial implications concerned with enhancing employees activities and commitment to creating innovations.

1. Theoretical Background

1.1 Innovations and Innovation Climate in Organizations

Innovation is always coupled with change due to the fact that organizations use innovations in order to respond the changes in their internal and external environment or to take pre-emptive action focused on influencing the environment. …

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