Organisational culture and innovation at work

Organisational Culture

Does organization culture promote innovation in workplace?

Hurley, R., & Hult, T. (1998). Innovation, market orientation, and organizational learning: an integration and empirical examination. Journal of marketing, 1 (62),42-54.

Organization culture includes factors such as market focus, learning and development, status differential, support and collaboration, participative decision making, power sharing, tolerance for conflict and risk taking, communication. The above factors promote innovation in workplace in the following ways;

Market focus

Organistaions with a culture of focusing externally creates opportunities for sourcing and generating new ideas in the business which in turn generates various responses to the market.

Learning and development

A firms culture of focusing on self development therough continuous learning assists in accumulation of ideas in the business which stimulates innovation. Mor knowledge and research increases the capacity of understanding new ideas and the ability to realize novel opportunities. Moreover problem solving process becomes easier and faster due to innovations made in the department of human resource.

Status differential

Certain organizations have  a culture of occupying different types of people with various responsibilities according to their ranks. Examples managers have different roles from directors.  Status differences created facilitate innovation.

Participative decision making

A culture of involving employees in decision making impacts greater commitment to innovate through freedom of acting and innovating. As a result there is increase in the flow of information and communication in all departments.

Support and collaboration

Firms taht support their members and openly collaborate with them,reduce fear which increases their chances of contributing ideas in an open manner. Moreover risk taking activities in new projects are well appreciated. Innovative ideas are nurtured and encouraged as well as cross-fertilization signalling that employees are valued in their innovative practices.

Power sharing

Firms with a tradition of sharing powers and information collaborates easily in sharing of resources required for implementation. Share of power reduces boundaries of status, turf and politics which negatively affects innovation.


Internal and external communication promotes innovation emanating from sourcing of different ideas and approaches to projects in a firm.

Tolerance for conflict and risk taking

Conflicts that are impersonal in a firm encourage search of extra information and ideas to look for solutions. In the process employees get new ideas to employ in their innovation processes.

Lichtenthaler, U., Hoegl, M., & Muethel, M.(2011). Is your company ready for open innovation? MIT Sloan management review,1 (53), 45-48.

Lichtenthaler, Hoegl and Muethel (2011) asserts that Companies having certain cultures have an opportunity to innovate. Examples include companies with positive attitudes of transferring technology through innovation practices. Company grouped among technology brokers pursue inbound and outbound open innovation. Employees in these companies have realized the benefits of opening to innovation processes and experienced positive impacts of initiatives in open innovation. Examples are medium-sized electronic companies that use contractual models to collaborate with external partners. They agree on similar laws on licences and alliances. They are involved in transfer of technology internally and externally.

Technology brokers realize highest level of return on their sales due to their implementation on open innovation. They engage their employees in inbound and outbound open innovation which facilitates transfer of technology. The companies have synergies from innovation. These companies derive benefits from interviews and additional opportunities in open outbound innovation thus strengthening the approaches.

Factors such as improvement on employee attitude facilitate innovation. Such companies concentrate on benchmarking opportunities. In addition the companies aim at improving on innovation practices through communicating open innovation strategies in the Company departments and top executives. Support from top executives reduces biasness among employees that hinder transfer of technology and encourage initiatives on the need of open innovation. Managers and top executives act as champions and innovation promoters.

Firms with a traditional of establishing incentive systems for internal innovation, such as patenting technologies developed internally and invention of monetary and non-monetary mechanisms of innovation, support transfer of technology and technology.

Companies that design their own structures of organisation have a proper system of open innovation. Companies improve on innovation by establishing functions to coordinate outbound and inbound open innovation. They also set units to manage out-licensing activities and strategic alliances. The practices reduce reluctance of employees toward innovation strategies.

Managers with a culture of institutionalizing open transfer of technology attitudes in corporate culture.

Goncalo,J.,& Staw,B.(2004).Individualism-collectivism and group creativity. Organiational behaviour and human decision processes, 100,96-109.

Goncalo &Staw(2004) states that innovation is affected by a cultures of collectivism or individualism.  Individualism culture established in organisations make employees feel independent and unique from other employees. Collectivism culture makes employees interdependent with the group and organisations in which they belong. Innovation is established in organizations with collectivism cultures since they promote the interest of group members and not personal interests. Collectivism culture improves members self esteem by accepting contributions from each person abilities. As a result innovation takes root in collectivism cultures who concentrate on well-being of the whole group through conducting beneficial researches and benchmarking activities.

Collectivism cultures lead employees towards understanding various norms of the organisation that lead to reaching the set targets of teh organisation. Firms that concentrate on collectivism lay special emphasis on larger objectives of the group and puts effort in promoting cooperation of employees to assist in meeting collective goals.

Innovation requires great creativity, which is only realized from collectivism groups who come up with collective ideas that are useful and novel to the organisation.

Firms employing collectivism as their culture encourage innovation through making use of their personal attributes such as autonomy, self-confidence and good personal judgement. In collectivism firms, employees are free to express their ideas since they will be appreciated and corrected by their colleagues.  As a result of intertwining creativity and conformity some people become more creative compared to their counterparts and get fully involved in innovation practices which improves the business.

Firms and organizations with a tradition of conducting group researches receive more ideas and comments on how to conduct innovation practices in their groups.

Collectivism cultures lead to conforming to pressures in the group thus promoting harmony and interdependence in the firm. However, individualist culture encourage independence in the group, encourages  retaining  of positive ideas and views, and hence are not suitable where innovation is required.

However, some firms accommodating individualism cultures may carry out innovation practices better than collectivism firms. Group dynamics that make members follow instructions during innovation may turn out negatively on members. Although collectivism improves interpersonal cooperation and assistive behaviour, it is ironic that it  may be a hindrance to creativity. Reasons behind the idea are that group members are rewarding from their observations and also punishing. Some employees may agree to avoid supporting ideas from a certain person gifted in innovation and thus kill innovation spirit in the organisation. In conclusion, firms wishing to innovate should be prepared to tolerate the behaviour and attitudes expressed in work places. They should establish a culture of  motivating hard working employees, encouraging them to pay attention to detail and accepting emerging business practices.




Goncalo, J.,& Staw, B.(2004).Individualism-collectivism and group creativity. Organiational       behaviour and human decision processes, 100,96-109.

Lichtenthaler, U., Hoegl, M., & Muethel, M.(2011). Is your company ready for open innovation?             MIT Sloan management review,1 (53), 45-48.

Hurley, R., & Hult, T. (1998). Innovation, market orientation, and organizational learning: an      integration and empirical examination. Journal of marketing, 1 (62),42-54.





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