Free How Leaders Influence Employees' Innovative Behaviour & Motivation, Pay Satisfaction, And Job Satisfaction Of Front-Line Employees Case Study Example
How leaders influence employees' innovative behavior
The overall performance of a company depends on many factors. Each and every employee’s contribution to the company is important in its accomplishment in the industry, country, and global competition as each affects collective results. Hence, suitable leadership plays an important role in directing an organization towards a success. Jeroen P.J. de Jong, Deanne N. Den Hartog of the European Journal of Innovation Management wrote a research about leadership. They specifically discussed how leaders can effectively influence the employees to be innovative (Jong et.al. 2007).
Jong et.al. Identified 13 important leadership behaviors that can enhance innovative traits among the employees. The research was a result of in-depth interviews or qualitative research and literature review to identify the effective leadership behaviors to motivate employees to do their best and to come up with innovative ideas that can result to company’s leadership. The identified behaviors include innovative role modelling, intellectual stimulation, stimulating knowledge diffusion, providing vision, consulting and delegating. Other behaviors mentioned include support for innovation, organizing feedback, recognition, rewards, providing sources, monitoring, and task assignment (Jong et.al. 2007).
The research found out that for employees to be innovative, the leaders should themselves be innovative. The firms in a knowledge-based services industries pay less important in innovation especially if it is an individual innovation according to Jong and his colleagues. Such is the challenge nowadays. It is important for the leaders to influence innovation based on their acts. Innovation can be a key to a company’s success and to encourage innovation, a leader should show that he or she likes innovation as well. He should be open to his or her employees’ ideas, and be supportive of it through listening and providing enough resources for any ideas that seems excellent. Further, a leader should also create an environment that stimulates innovation so that a company can continue create unique and excellent products and services that can move markets.
Some important things that we can learn from Jong’s research are the importance of leadership in encouraging innovation. It is not something that can thrive if the leaders, themselves, are not innovative or do not support such. The research also thought us the importance of cooperation in coming up and realizing an innovative and excellent idea. Such can be seen in the proper division of work among the team and providing feedback for further improvements of the idea. A leader can also motivate or encourage innovation by providing rewards, incentives, and recognition for an employee who contributes the best idea for a better delivery of work or for a new product that can beat competition in the industry.
The methods of research are good to identify the behaviors. However, it seems that a leadership at the entry level type of positions was overlooked. There are times that a bold employee from the entry-level position is great in his work that he or she can contribute ideas that can make an excellent impact in the company even if the upper management are weak in terms of innovation. Such employees rise from the ranks and could awaken and improve organizational behavior. While it is always true that leaders have a great impact in inculcating the values of innovation in the company, it is not always true that they are the only factor for the success of innovation or that an innovation cannot pursue without their support. Sometimes, a brilliant employee even in the rank-in-file could easily change things in the company and turn the minds and behavior of non-innovative leader to being pro-innovation.
The management of Apple Inc. exemplifies the leadership with innovation and leadership that encourage innovation. Their leaders, especially Steve Jobs, are innovative themselves and they encourage innovation through research and development, knowledge of market, and support through provision of quality resources to realize innovative products. The leadership also stimulates its employees to think for the best products. They also compensate its employees well which makes working with the company rewarding. The success of the company also gives the employees pride and prestige. Such overall leadership style develops employees’ commitment and loyalty.
In conclusion, we can say that leaders play an important role in creating innovative culture and environment in an organization. However, there is still hope in an organization with less innovative leaders as brilliant employees from the ranks-in-file can also change the environment and culture of the organization. Hence, the leaders are not the sole factor in creating innovative environment. An innovator will always rise as a leader whether he or she is from the rank-in-file or in upper management. While it is important to stimulate innovation, a person who is gifted from having innovative ideas and acts will always rise from ranks and turn things to special, excellent, and extraordinary and beat competition.
Motivation, pay satisfaction, and job satisfaction of front-line employees
In relations to leadership and creating innovative environment in the workplace, motivation is a key element in winning the cooperation of the employees to work according to the goals of the company. A leader needs to know how to motivate the employees to do their task regularly and with high concerns for quality. As noted by Jong and his colleagues, even in the creating innovative environment, motivation such as rewards, recognition and leaders support are necessary to continuously lead people to innovate. Carolyn Stringer, Jeni Didham, Paul Theivananthampillai studied the types of motivation and its relationship to the satisfaction of employees. Their research entitled Motivation, pay satisfaction, and job satisfaction of front-line employees identified the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, pay and job satisfaction of the retailers front line employees (Stringers et.al. 2011).
Stringer’s et.al.’s research revealed that there is a high correlation among job pay, intrinsic motivation, and job satisfaction (Stringers et.al. 2011). High job satisfaction is often a result of the employees’ passion for work or intrinsic motivation and good pay. The research also revealed that extrinsic motivation such as rewards and incentives are not always correlated to the level of job satisfaction. The key is to pay the employees well to have high job satisfaction. The samples in the research are front liners in the retail industry who are mainly minimum wage earners and they rated both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation as important factors for job satisfaction. As most of the respondents are low income earners, extrinsic motivation are considered important, but such could not be translated to high job satisfaction if they feel that their pay is unfair. Majority of the respondents said that their leaders were able to explain to them clearly the goals of the company which enable them to work in line with the aims or vision of the company (Stringers et.al. 2011).
What we can learn about Stringers and her colleagues is the importance of the intrinsic motivation or passion for work as the key to long employee and employer relationship as well as to excellent performance. However, such passion and performance should be paid fairly, if not rewardingly, to result to high job satisfaction. Nevertheless, extrinsic motivation or rewards and incentive for performance can contribute to better performance of employees but are not effective means to achieve loyalty if the employees are not compensated well. It can help improve the performance of the company for a certain period of time but will not be the key to reduce or eliminate turnover. A systematic communication should be applied to always inform the employees about the goals of the company so they can work in line with the direction set by the leaders.
While the findings of Stringers and her colleagues are valid, it is however important to note that some families of wealth background with investments do not necessarily care for pay if they are establishing a career. Some do a task even if they are not paid well simply because they enjoy doing it and the prestige that attached to it. An example of this is a painter or art employee, who just loves to paint or draw a comic strip even if receiving low salary. Financial rewards are secondary. If a company hires people of middle class and low income background, rewarding and/or just pay is a key factor to motivate the employees to wok according to the company’s goals. As majority of the workforce falls in the low-income and middle income families, it should always be a rule for any company to provide a just pay and incentives for good performance to enjoy the benefits very low employee turnovers, and hence achieve efficient business continuity.
Such rule is always applicable to services firm and most importantly to manufacturing firms that hires factory workers and all other non-professional workers. A concrete example of such motivation principal is when Apple Inc increased the salary of its factory workers in China to avoid labour strikes and negative publicity about the company. The management of Apple Inc’s enjoyed the benefits of business continuity when they decided to increase the salaries of the complaining employees in China.
In conclusion, innovation, passion for work, just pay, and room for growth are the key motivating factors to win the employees cooperation and loyalty. Incentives and other forms of extrinsic motivation can help enhance employees’ performance but are not the key factors to achieve long term employee-employer relationship for a successful goal. Extrinsic motivation should be considered as aids to win cooperation and loyalty but should not be considered as the main or sole factor. Neither should it be a replacement to just pay if a manager or a company aims for the full cooperation, commitment, loyalty, and innovative ideas of the employees.
Jong, et.al. (2007). How leaders influence employees' innovative behaviour. European Journal of Innovation Management. pp. 41-59
Stringers et.al. (2011). Motivation, pay satisfaction, and job satisfaction of front-line employees. University of Otago, New Zealand. pp 161-174
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