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Title: Fostering Innovation Through Self-Reliance. A Multidimensional Perspective On Innovative Work Behavior
Authors: Rosema, Erik
Keywords: Idea generation
idea promotion
idea realization
innovative work behavior
conflict management styles
attachment styles
Issue Date: 29-Sep-2015
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Innovation is the process that transforms new ideas into commercial value (Chen, Zhao, Liu, & Wu, 2012). Thus, companies are challenged to enhance the innovative work behavior of their employees. Chen et al. relate innovative work behavior to conflict management styles. They classify five conflict management styles using dual concern dimensions (concern for self and others): (1) Integrating, (2) dominating, (3) avoiding, (4) obliging, and (5) compromising. They conclude that an integrating conflict management style has a positive impact on innovative work behavior and that an avoiding one is negatively related to this behavior. Chen et al. differentiate three phases in innovative work behavior: (1) Generate innovative ideas, (2) promote these ideas, and (3) realize them. However, they do not take these phases into account in their study claims. Furthermore, they argue that other causes of innovative work behavior should be integrated. Innovative work behavior is, for instance, grounded in attachment styles according to Harms (2011). In line with Harms, Corcoran and Mallinckrodt (2000) use the same dual concern dimensions to classify attachment styles as Chen et al. employ for conflict management styles. Therefore, this thesis integrated the impact of attachment styles and conflict management styles on innovative work behavior and its three phases. To investigate this impact, it employed the Rahim (1983a) Organizational Conflict Inventory (ROCI-II), Hofstra (2009)’s Attachment Styles Questionnaire (ASQ), and the Innovative Work Behavior (IWB) questionnaire by Janssen (2000), respectively. Furthermore, it transferred the five claims on conflict management by Chen et al. to four claims on attachment. In addition, these nine claims were explored for innovative work behavior overall as well as for its three phases. While Chen et al. claim a positive impact of the integrating conflict management style and a negative effect of the compromising conflict management style on innovative work behavior, this investigation rejected these claims. This investigation concluded that innovative work behavior, and its idea generation and promotion phases, were affected by a dismissing attachment style (holding a positive view of oneself, being self-reliant, and valuing autonomy). This dismissing style had more impact on idea generation than on idea promotion. Idea realization positively depended on the integrating conflict management style and negatively on the compromising conflict management style and the preoccupied attachment style (holding negative views of oneself but positive views of others and having low self-worth and being anxious in close relationships). These findings imply that innovative firms need employees with an integrating rather than a compromising conflict management style when realizing innovative ideas. They should hire people with dismissing attachment styles to generate and promote innovative ideas, while they should avoid hiring preoccupied types. Especially, as it is generally easier to change attitudes than it is to change attachment styles, which are rather fixed (Ben‐Ari & Hirshberg, 2009). The practical key notion of this investigation is that innovation is fostered through self-reliance.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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