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Innovative work behavior through high-quality leadership

Linda Miller (College of Doctoral Studies, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Andrew Foster Miller (College of Doctoral Studies, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 25 February 2020

Issue publication date: 18 May 2020

1033

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to understand how innovative work behavior (IWB) was affected by leaders’ relationships with their employees to enhance engagement/job commitment in the grocery retail industry. The general business problem is some organizations in the grocery retail industry lack IWB to generate innovative solutions to remain competitive.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used a qualitative method and a single case study design because the literature identified a need to understand how the leader–member relationships, employee engagement/job commitment and employee idea generation and implementation affect organizational innovation in the grocery retail industry. Using this method and design provided the appropriate approach to explore a single organization business process model for innovation. The three data sources for this study were semistructured one-on-one individual interviews, a single focus group and relevant organizational documentation.

Findings

The findings showed high-quality relationships between knowledge workers and their leaders can positively affect their engagement/job commitment and ability to generate and implement useful ideas. A fundamental catalyst for IWB is when all four critical forces are in alignment including high-quality relationships between the knowledge workers and their leadership, the employee is fully engaged and the organization promotes risk-taking behavior to create new ideas with its commitment to innovation through resources and prioritization. The millennial participants indicated their leaders should be more transformational leaders coaching and mentoring them rather than transactional task-oriented disciplinarians. The Generation X and baby boomer participants were seeking more autonomy and resources to explore ideas.

Research limitations/implications

Future researchers could consider exploring a deeper understanding of the multigenerational knowledge workers’ needs to help leaders stimulate employee engagement/job commitment and increase IWB.

Practical implications

Organizations are able to meet the market demand for innovation and remain competitive.

Social implications

Higher quality leader–member relationships lead to employee engagement/job commitment that can increase innovation.

Originality/value

The findings were the trends and preferences revealed within generational groupings. The needs and wants expressed by the millennial participants indicated that their leaders should be more of a coach and mentor. The Generation X and baby boomer participants were seeking more autonomy and resources to explore ideas.

Keywords

Citation

Miller, L. and Miller, A.F. (2020), "Innovative work behavior through high-quality leadership", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 219-236. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJIS-04-2019-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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