This paper uses a combination of organisation theory, gender theory and the work environment to study the generation and implementation of new ideas in organisations. How do employees' perceptions of organisational structure and the work environment affect idea generation and implementation, and how does gender moderate this relationship?
The study develops and tests a structural equation model using data from a survey of a large Norwegian energy corporation. Survey items are measured using five-point scales and show good internal consistency levels. Exploratory factor analyses are used to ensure internal consistency, and confirmatory factor analyses are used to assess the fit of the model. Convergent and discriminant validity tests are also performed. Common method bias and invariance are evaluated across the female and male samples.
The theoretical model had a better fit for the male sample than the female sample, indicating that men's innovations were better captured than women's. The relationship between creativity and implementation is moderated by gender: women's ideas are not implemented to the same degree as men's. Work pressure has a positive effect on creativity; support from colleagues affects both idea generation and implementation, though support from managers does not.
The study has the usual limitations of cross-sectional surveys. The findings confirm that the two phases of the innovation process (idea generation and implementation) depend on similar intrinsic motivational factors in the work environment. However, implementing ideas also depends on decision-making authority.
Managers should be aware of how to increase innovative potential among employees. Employees should be given decision-making authority and work in an environment with supportive colleagues. The gendered findings in the study indicate that more attention should be paid to women's innovations in male-dominated corporations.
The study integrates research from disciplines that traditionally do not communicate into one theoretical framework to explore the conditions for employee-driven innovation. The findings highlight the need for developing gender-neutral innovation measures and understanding context-embedding innovation processes.
Foss, L., Woll, K. and Moilanen, M. (2013), "Creativity and implementations of new ideas: Do organisational structure, work environment and gender matter?", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 298-322. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-09-2012-0049
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