Examining the relationship between HRM and innovative work behaviour

Andre Veenendaal, Anna Christina Bos-Nehles, Martijn van Velzen, Jan C. Looise

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The purpose of this paper is to study how HRM is related to individual innovation. As an operationalization of individual innovation, we will study the construct of innovative work behaviour (IWB). IWB is about the behaviour of an individual to intentionally introduce new ideas, processes or products (De Jong, 2007). The behavioral perspective proposes that HRM affects firm outcomes, such as innovation, through the mediation of attitudes and behaviour of employees (e.g. Schuler and Jackson, 1987; Wright & McMahan, 1992). However, more recently scholars suggest this relationship is more complex and not so straightforward (e.g. Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Wright & Nishii, 2006). The way HRM is designed to influence employees’ attitudes and behaviour, is not per se equal to the way employees perceive it (Wright & Nishii, 2006). Bowen and Ostroff (2004) argue, that a strong climate will contribute to shared perceptions among employees, working as a mediator in the HRM – firm outcome relationship. Furthermore, the leadership style creates a climate within the firm, which affect the attitudes and behaviours of employees (Scott & Bruce, 1994). This paper is expected to contribute to literature by studying how production workers’ innovative work behaviour (IWB) is related to individual attributes (e.g. Parker et al., 1997), climate (e.g. Malik & Wilson, 1995; Bowen & Ostroff, 2004) and leadership (e.g. Scott & Bruce, 1994), using data of individual employees. The central question is whether the individual attributes, climate and leadership constructs identified are beneficial to IWB. 24 Quantitative data is collected at four manufacturing companies, between May 2010 and May 2011. The number of respondents will be approximately 550 production workers. The design of the study gives the opportunity to study variances within and between the four firms. The first results of within-company analyses suggest that individual attributes are strongly related to IWB and that leadership and climate are partly contributing to IWB. We also found indications that points to the direction that companies face difficulties in communicating their HRM philosophy or system.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2011
Event7th International Conference of the Dutch HRM Network 2011: Evidence based HRM - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Nov 201111 Nov 2011
Conference number: 7


Conference7th International Conference of the Dutch HRM Network 2011


  • METIS-284049
  • IR-83145


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