Organisational culture and innovation at work

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.

Hurley & Hult(1998) asserts that cultures developed in organizations promotes workplace innovations. Companies with a culture of sourcing ideas from external businesses, form a habit of innovating their projects to compete with others in the market. employees research on obtained ideas depending on their status. Through positive collaboration and support from other members and their top executives, they improve their projects and increase on sales and profits. Companies wishing to innovate must focus on power sharing, build enough tolerance in their risk taking activities through effective communication.

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.  Continuous training and developing oneself  by increasing on their education keeps employees on track with upcoming developments and changes in markets.

            Market focus; Organisations 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 through continuous learning assists in accumulation of ideas in the business which stimulates innovation. More 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.

Support and collaboration; Effective support and collaboration in firms ensures proper decision making, reduce fear and nurtures innovative ideas, encourages them and signals cross fertilization. Risk taking activities in new projects are appreciated.

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.

Communication; 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 cultures of transferring technology through innovation practices have an opportunity to innovate. Companies grouped among technology brokers, pursue inbound and outbound open innovation. Employees in these companies realize benefits of opening to innovation processes and experience positive impacts of initiatives in open innovation. Technology brokers culture employed in organisations assists in outsourcing ideas and combination of ideas which transfers and improves technology. Innovation is on the increase in such companies eliminating factors such as biasness of some employees. Conduction of benchmarking activities, provision of incentives such as materials and funds as well as support from employers improves the nature of the Company through innovation.


Companies with a culture of 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 facilitating transfer of technology.  These companies derive benefits from interviews and additional opportunities in open outbound innovation thus strengthening the approaches. Factors such as improvement on employee attitude, benchmarking opportunities, open communication, 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.

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 the 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 their collective goals.


Innovation requires great creativity  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 are appreciated and corrected by their colleagues. 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,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. Group members are rewarding from their observations and also punishing and may avoid supporting ideas from a certain person gifted in innovation and thus kill innovation spirit in the organisation.






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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