Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Role of Employee Engagement in Revitalizing Creativity and Innovation at the Workplace: A Survey of Selected Libraries in Meru County - Kenya

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Role of Employee Engagement in Revitalizing Creativity and Innovation at the Workplace: A Survey of Selected Libraries in Meru County - Kenya

Article excerpt


The swiftly changing paradigms in information seeking behavior, escalating competition among information providers, changes in information packaging and modes of access, the far-reaching impacts of technology have all necessitated a greater need for continuous creativity and innovation in all library operations. This study was triggered by consideration of how libraries are expected to thrive in the aforementioned impetuous environment. Libraries are increasingly challenged to embrace creativity and innovation as a key driver to distinctive and sustainable competencies. This amplifies the need for development of thinking organizations and execution of deliberate measures of tapping people's creative and innovative capacities in order to remain relevant to library clients.

Despite the volatile operating environment and insufficient funding, libraries in Kenya envision facilitating effective access to information sources and services in support of mission of parent organizations. Since these libraries are not in profit making business, the information professionals are likely to be less bothered by the need for high sales volumes, high bottom-line; no worry for break-even or no pressing need for hastening the payback period of investment done on library building and resources. This orientation poses numerous organizational effectiveness challenges hence libraries are increasingly receiving pressures to re-invent themselves by innovating their products and services.

Proponent of human resources argues that staffs are the main sources of creativity and innovation in organizations. However, creativity and innovation can neither be imposed nor can it be driven by disengaged employees. Surprisingly, a global research by Gallup (2005) reported that only 29% of company employees are engaged while others are either partially engaged or completely disengaged. Undoubtedly, disengaged employees are a liability to the organization and hardly challenge the status quo while engaged employees exhibit emotional job attachment, unreserved commitment, increased productivity, high job passion, and in most cases they go extra miles (Perrin, 2003; Shuck, Rocco & Albornoz, 2011; Abraham, 2012; Right Management, 2009 and Echols, 2005).

The study therefore aimed to establish the empirical evidence on whether staff engagement affects the level of creativity and innovation in libraries. The specific objectives were: to investigate effects of employee engagement on creativity and innovation, and to suggest an improved model. The study postulated that level of employee engagement spurs creativity and innovation in the library and hence the hypothesis:

H1: The level of employee engagement will be positively related to the level of staff creativity and innovation in the library.

It was guided by one research question:

RQ1: Are the constructs of employee engagement positively related to the constructs of staff creativity and innovation in the library?

The study is limited to the specific purpose of exploring whether drivers of employee engagement can influence employee creativity and innovation in the library. First, a contextual background and empirical literature on employee engagement is presented, followed by creativity and innovation at the workplace. A theoretical framework is also provided respectively. Second, methodology used and analysis techniques are described. Finally, a discussion of results, conclusion and recommendation bring this paper to close.

Literature and Empirical Review

The Meaning of Employee Engagement

The concept of employee engagement was developed by Kahn (1990) in his ethnographic work on summer camp employees and also employees at an architecture firm. Published literatures present several definitions of this term. Although each definition represents unique perspectives of the time, context and field, the disjointed approach to defining employee engagement has posed misinterpretation (Shuck and Wollard, 2010). …

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