Drivers' match that foster employee-driven innovation : A cross-case study of Product Performance Innovation

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Big, prosperous and outstanding notable corporations regularly rely on work climates that develop and encourage creative comportments and attitudes. Employees are the most important dynamic behind the creative innovation process; therefore, their engagement is seen as the combination of emotive, lucid and social extents of enthusiasm level, commitment, and attachment to their job tasks. Additionally, firms progressively empower their workforces to conduct research and generate creative ideas. The purpose of this research is to recognize drivers’ combinations and mechanisms directing the employee- driven innovation concept. Understanding employee-driven innovation relies on grasping and understanding the connection between employee engagement and innovation or creativeness. Therefore, in the proposed study, understanding each of the concepts is crucial so to recognize and investigate the link between the theories. The first section of the study is related to employee engagement. Many researches have focused on the connection between human resource management (HRM) and organization creativeness and innovation. Scholars have determined that human resource procedures, when applied jointly in a system form (i.e. high-performance work scheme) have a substantial and constructive influence on a firm's creative outcome. The aim of this part is to assess, discuss and examine existing empirical literature while emphasizing the different employee engagement mechanisms, drivers and shaping factors. The second section is related to innovation and creativity. The literature associated with innovation management led to a rising number of diverse and distinctive models of innovation types and processes. This research relies on a 10 type of innovation model proposed by Keeley et al. (2013) in which the innovation dimensions interrelate and interconnect so to create distinctive, and interesting creative approaches. The third section relates to employee-driven innovation. While some scholars argue about the definition, dependencies, and origin of the concept, the authors argue that employee-driven innovation find its source in the combination of a healthy employee engagement structure and a strong desire of the organization to innovate. The research proposes seven key drivers of employee-driven innovation: Managers and leaders attitude, Team culture - spirit and social environment, Work process - resource allocation, Job design, Corporal environment, Employee suitability, and Organizational values; each of these drivers has a certain impact in specific and critical innovation cases. Consequently, the last part of the dissertation is based on four structured case studies, focusing on product performance innovation, that assess all the different concepts already proposed. The authors evaluate the different innovation patterns, the working environment governing the society, the firm and culture at the time of the innovation and the employee innovative process that lead to the materialization of his creativeness. It is found that from these examples, different drivers supported creative, innovative and inspiring employee behaviors, depending on the technology, sector and organization vision. While there is no single driver inciting employees to innovate, there is a whole framework that should be understood and investigated by an organization so to lead the way for employee-driven innovation. From a practical viewpoint, the research has eased the way for future studies and the development of management guidelines, which firms aiming to foster their employee creative behaviors can rely on. Moreover, the dissertation postulates valuable perceptions into a significant area of study as firms look for techniques and methods to realize competitive advantage through their employees and workforce.

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