Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Critical Success Factors of Suggestions Systems

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Critical Success Factors of Suggestions Systems

Article excerpt


This paper aims to identify the critical success factors of suggestion systems. In doing so, it could be used as a guideline in starting up a suggestion system or to contribute to a more successful existing system. A literature study approach is followed to establish which factors contribute to the success and failure of various suggestion systems. It was found that fourteen factors seem to contribute to the success of any suggestion system. Although all the factors are not equally important, they all contribute to the success of the system. All employees have ideas regardless of whether or not the environment is conducive but the employee will only submits it if the environment is seen as supportive. That means that the organisation that wishes to have a successful suggestion system must be creative and innovative.

Practical implications are that a suggestion system can be a very powerful management tool. Employees are an excellent source of ideas but there should be a supportive culture that encourages ideas. The system must be well organised and take into account all the critical factors that might have an influence. It is important to start off well when launching a new system. It is more difficult to revive an old one. The value of the paper firstly, shows the importance of creativity and innovation within the organisation's own culture and the framework of a formal suggestion system. Secondly, it emphasizes the importance of the development of ideas. It also identifies the hurdles and difficulties that hampered the development of ideas and the transition there of into suggestions.

Keywords - Suggestions, suggestion systems, creativity and innovation, commitment, involvement and ideas generation,

Paper type - Literature study


One of the first books ever to be written on the subject of suggestion systems Seinwerth (1948:1) wrote: "Idea power is the most tremendous human force in the world". Nothing has changed since then. It is just a matter of how this idea power is been utilised. Simply having a suggestion system in place is not necessarily enough. To a creative and innovative organisation the suggestion system will be only one of the instruments that will be used to extract that idea power from employees. A common aim of a suggestion system is to achieve greater employee involvement which eventually leads to greater tangible benefits such as cost savings, and higher sales and intangible benefits like higher levels of morale (Crail, 2006:30 & 31).

The suggestion box

A sure failure will be the traditional suggestion box that will be emptied now and again. Many managers believe that if a suggestion box is placed at a strategic point and emptied on a regular basis that the organisation has a suggestion system. Large segments of the business community hold the suggestion box in low esteem. For many managers the suggestion box is in such ill repute, that its existence is tolerated primarily as a defensive play. The box is there to prevent employees from charging that management does not care about their ideas. Employees on the other hand look upon the boxes as joke boxes or convenient rubbish bins. To be successful, the suggestion system must be a formal one, fostering an environment where ideas are recognised, incentivised, followed through and communicating that effectively (Crail, 2006:30).

A formal suggestion system

According to Darragh-Jeromos (2005:18) a stand alone suggestion system is outmoded. It should be a suggestion system that is integrated with the organisation culture. To comply with this the system must be formal. That means that the system consist of a formal procedure which encourages employees to think creatively about their work and work environment, and to produce ideas which will benefit the organisation for which the employee will receive recognition, in one or another way, if the ideas are useful for the organisation. …

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