Idea Management: Perspectives from Leadership, Learning, and Network Theory Defended on Friday, 3 February 2012
In this dissertation, we focus on how leadership styles, individual learning behaviors, and social network structures drive or inhibit organizational members to repeatedly generate and develop innovative ideas. Taking the idea management programs of three multinational companies as the research setting, we investigate, in four empirical papers using different sources and methods, how innovative behavior can be supported, influenced, or changed. Within this context, we concentrate on a) the quantity of ideas, b) the quality of ideas, and c) the repeated participation of employees in idea management programs.
The findings demonstrate that managers can stimulate employees to submit more ideas through a combination of their leadership style and the organizational mindset they embrace. We also find that people whose prior ideas were rejected in the past are more inclined to initiate new ideas. However, only employees who successfully initiated ideas in the past learn to improve or demonstrate consistency in the quality of their subsequent ideas. We further show that the embeddedness of ties in a network predicts how much time people invest in the development of an idea. Moreover, we find that social network structures dynamically evolve between one idea to the next. In particular, strong ties and a higher network size influence the quality of ideas and vice versa.
Together, the insights of the studies illustrate how through leadership, learning, and social networks idea inventors exchange knowledge, build on each other’s expertise, make sense of experiences, and become motivated to constantly generate ideas that move the organization forward.
idea management, social networks, leadership, learning, innovation, creativity, ideas, initiative, idea quality, continued ideation, longitudinal, multilevel analysis