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Innovative work behavior : A case study at a tire manufacturer

Oukes, T (2010) Innovative work behavior : A case study at a tire manufacturer.

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Abstract:In today’s rapid changing environment the ability of a business to gain competitive advantage is partly dependent on the capability of a business to innovate. In order to innovate the innovative behaviors of employees are of crucial importance, because it are employees that carry out innovations that otherwise would not be developed. Therefore, a case study was conducted in order to research how mangers can enhance innovative work behavior (IWB) at EZ. The main research question that I intended to answer was ‘How can the management of EZ stimulate the innovative work behavior of their employees in order to increase competitive advantage?’ Innovation is never a solitary activity. The innovative behavior of individuals is at least partly determined by the interaction with others. Within the context of a business employees are in particular depended on their leaders for the information, resources and support that are needed to innovate. The leader is therefore a driving force behind individual innovation. The question arises how leaders can enhance the IWB of their employees. A literature review revealed that innovation- stimulating leadership can enhance the innovative behavior of employees. However, based on the literature review it could also be argued that this relationship would be strengthened if employees believe that their innovative behavior will benefit their work. An existing questionnaire of the project ‘competences for innovation’ of the University was used in order to find empirical evidence for these propositions and provide EZ of an analysis of the current situation regarding IWB. As research on individual innovation among employees of firms in the manufacturing industry is still scare, the questionnaire was handed out to production workers. The remarkably high response rate of 82 percent provided a solid basis for the data analysis. The current situation regarding the innovative behavior of the production workers was determined based on the collected data. It appeared that production workers rarely find themselves to display innovative work behavior. Although the production workers do tend to generate ideas from time to time, they rarely champion or implement these inventions. This causes the perceived innovative output to be quite low. Regarding innovation-stimulating leadership and the expected benefits of innovative behavior on their job the employees were relatively positive. Based on the results of the data analysis it can be confirmed that innovation-stimulating leadership is positively related with IWB. When supervisors display innovation-stimulating behaviors to a larger extent, employees will be more innovative. The results furthermore show that the relationship between innovation-stimulating leadership and IWB is not moderated by the expected positive job performance outcomes. When employees anticipated innovative behavior would benefit their work, the effect of the innovation-stimulating behaviors of supervisors on the level of IWB was not increased. Thirdly, the findings confirm the expected relationship between IWB and innovative output. When production workers display more innovative behaviors, their perceived innovative output will be higher. In order to enhance the IWB of their employees, the supervisors of EZ should delegate responsibilities to their employees, recognize and support their innovative efforts, provide them with the resources needed to innovate and consult them in the decision making process. In addition, IWB can be stimulated by establishing a strong association between innovative behavior and job performance. This can be done by communicating the need for change, demonstrating that innovation will benefit the organization, improving the quality of the relationship between the employee and the supervisor, setting innovation as a job requirement and breaking the comfort with the status quo.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62728
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