Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Impact of Innovation on Job Satisfaction: Evidence from U.S. Federal Agencies

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Impact of Innovation on Job Satisfaction: Evidence from U.S. Federal Agencies

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Innovation has been commonly considered as one of the strategic means for advancing efficiency and performance in an organization (Damanpour & Evan, 1984; Loof & Heshmati, 2006). However, innovation is considered to relate to private organizations more than the public sector (Hull & Lio, 2006), since the government has been stereotyped as the strict-structured, change-resistant, and less inventive organization. Accordingly, organizations in the public sector have been predisposed as less efficient and less innovative than those in the private sector. This might be because innovation seems to conflict with the traditionally perceived bureaucratic structure of the public sector. The bureaucratic structure in the public sector could require public institutions to adopt fewer new practices. Moreover, the pressure to meet the innovative obligation in the organization can adversely cause employee job dissatisfaction or employee wellbeing.

Promoting job satisfaction has been recognized as one of the significant influences in improving work performance (Smith, Kendall, & Hulin, 1969). The managerial innovation practice is one of the motivating means of enhancing in private sector. However, it is still questionable if organizations in the public sector use an innovative approach as one of the motivating means of enhancing employee satisfaction as well as producing efficiency. This is because innovation function under particular organizational contexts is different in the public sector than it is in the private sector. The relationship between innovation and job satisfaction is worth exploration.

Innovation has been recognized as a strategic approach to advance organizational efficiency, performance, and growth. Promoting innovation in the public sector, in terms of public administration, has flourished in recent decades (Behn, 1994; Borins, 1998, 2008; Cohen & Eimicke, 1998). How innovative practices affect organizations and individuals in the public sector has been increasingly discussed. There are a large number of previous studies on organizational innovation and performance from an organizational perspective (Damanpour & Evan, 1984; Loof & Heshmati, 2006); however, there has been relatively little research regarding how innovation practices in the organization influence individual work satisfaction (Bryson, Dale-Olsen, & Barth, 2009).

This study attempts to explore the relationship between the employees' perception of innovation practice and job satisfaction in the public sector. Specifically, this study seeks to examine if organizational innovation leads to job motivation from an employee's perception. It is meaningful to explore whether an innovative approach can provide incentives for motivating public employees, as other extrinsic rewards, such as money or promotion, and intrinsic rewards of achievement contribute to organizational enhancement. This study will also examine whether individual characteristics such as demographic features are interrelated with innovation, and whether innovation influences job satisfaction as well. To investigate the relationship, this research constructed an ordinary least square (OLS) regression model by using the results of the 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and adding interaction terms such as age, gender, race, payment grade, supervisory status, agency category, and the length of work experience, which would affect the perception of innovation, to determine the impacts of innovation on job satisfaction in federal agencies.

2. Literature Review

This section contains two primary theoretical components of innovation and job satisfaction. Innovation includes the examination of innovation in the public sector, barriers to innovation, and organizational practices related to innovation. Job satisfaction is discussed with the two-factor theory related to motivation in the public sector.

2.1 Innovation in the Public Sector

Following the productive definitions of innovation since Schumpeter (1934), innovation has referred to a wider range of innovative approaches, from social innovation to organizational, institutional, and political perspectives more recently (Halvorsen, Hauknes, Miles, & Røste, 2005, p. …

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