This paper aims to investigate the role of characteristics of vocational education teachers’ personal network at the workplace for determining the resources that enable them to cope with innovation-related demands at work.
A survey study with 48 vocational education teachers is carried out. Social network analysis, correlation analysis, and a comparative descriptive analysis of cluster profiles of teachers’ personal network at the workplace are carried out.
This study provides evidence for the role of network size as a facilitator of innovative work behaviour (IWB) outside the classroom. However, smaller networks can also support the development of innovations if they contain dense interactions with experienced, innovative professionals.
This study implies to further investigate the role of network size in relation to the kind of network interactions (e.g. density of interactions and experience of members) in the context of larger and versatile work contexts.
This study implies that organisations should provide structures, tasks and events (e.g. interdisciplinary work teams and boundary crossing events) that enable employees to build network connections that help them to manage work-related demands. Employees themselves should reflect on their personal interaction preferences, their specific needs for support and the availability of co-workers who can provide this support.
This study contributes to the discourse on the relationship between professional networks and the development of innovations. Especially, the social work context and its role for IWB have hardly been investigated from a network perspective.
Messmann, G., Mulder, R.H. and Palonen, T. (2018), "Vocational education teachers’ personal network at school as a resource for innovative work behaviour", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 174-185. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-08-2017-0069
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