Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Educational Policy and Leadership Studies
Alan B. Henkin
In the context of globalization, technological advances, and the development of the knowledge economy, organizations must innovate to remain competitive. Recently, the call for innovation in public and nonprofit sector organizations has increased. These organizations, which rely on tax exemption, state allocations, or charitable contributions, must innovate for practical and symbolic reasons. While many factors contribute to innovation capacity, a key variable - employee perceptions of organizational support for innovation - is an influential variable. In several studies, employees who perceived greater organization supported innovation were more likely to behave in innovative ways. Research indicates that perceptions of organizational support for innovation may be affected by organizational trust and individual resistance to change. The purpose of this study was to conduct an exploratory investigation of perceptions of organizational support for innovation among employees of a nonprofit credit union in a Midwestern state. Associations among organizational support for innovation, resistance to change, organizational trust, and several independent variables were measured.
A web-based survey, made up of previously tested scales, was distributed to 534 employees and completed by 345, for a 64.6% response rate. Three methods were used to test the hypotheses: principal components analysis, multiple regression analysis, and path analysis. Several significant direct associations were found. As organizational trust and work engagement increased, organizational support for innovation also increased. As resistance to change, conflict, and level of education increased, organizational support for innovation decreased. Two significant interaction effects were also found; the interaction variable of organizational trust and education, and the interaction variable of resistance to change and participation in the innovation workshop each contributed significantly to the model. Importantly, when intervening and independent variables were combined in regression models with organizational trust, only organizational trust showed a significant predictive relationship. Using path analysis, organizational trust was the most important variable in explaining perceived organizational support for innovation. Ranking second and third in importance were conflict and resistance to change. Implications from the study's findings are relevant for organizational strategy, management, and practice. Strategically, leaders must prioritize innovation activities, address differences in disposition among employees, and supply adequate resources. Strategic efforts must also account for the complex stakeholder demands and values that are unique to the nonprofit sector. Managerially, building systems trust, resolving destructive conflict, and leading effectively are of paramount concern to the innovation capacity of nonprofit organizations. Finally, several discrete practices, including appealing to the internal motivation of nonprofit employees, engaging employees in innovation activities, and assuring trust is integrated in innovation systems, are recommended.
Copyright 2012 Stacy Ann Van Gorp