SHR018-6 WEEK 9: CREATIVITY, INNOVATION, LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT Dr Pauline Loewenberger Knowledge creation and management, organisational learning, creativity and innovation may collectively be viewed as responsive, dynamic processes, the integration of which places people issues in the foreground. Typically textbooks treat these concepts and processes only as sub-sections of more traditional topics. All are critical to organisations in challenging times such as this and all are interrelated. Yet there remains a clear need for the links to be more explicit. The emphasis here is on synthesis between these important new priorities in the global context that is meaningful and useful in practice. Critical review highlights both the merits and limitations of current argument and evidence: Firstly, we analyse how managers might overcome barriers and misunderstandings to effectively stimulate, support and sustain organisational creativity and innovation. Secondly, synthesis of influential contributions to organisational learning, knowledge creation and management makes explicit the links to creativity and innovation management. Finally, implications are explored for Human Resource Management and Development.
Drawing on the author’s doctoral research, you are guided through a maze of tenuous links towards an explicit exposition of the conditions necessary for creativity, innovation, organisational learning, knowledge creation, transfer and management might be interpreted and comprehended under the employment relationship through individual and group behaviour. CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION The essence of Schumpeter’s (1934) classic reference to the gales of creative destruction that arise from disequilibrium is that all economic and social progress ultimately depends on new ideas that contest the introspection and inertia of the status quo. Suggestions that organisational effectiveness, competitiveness and survival within a rapidly changing, dynamic, highly competitive global business environment frequently depend on new ideas is not new (Williams and Yang 1999). The fostering of creativity and innovation is essential in supporting creative revolutions (Gibb and Waight 2005:101). The key to realising innovation is unlocking the potential of all employees, regardless of position rather than relying on highly creative individuals traditionally occupying more creative roles (Axtell et al. 2000; Madjar et al. 2002; Madjar 2005). This demands overcoming cognitive blocks in the individual and organisational barriers. This applies equally to the private sector in developing sustainable competitive advantage and to the public sector where ‘the demand for efficiencies and enhanced performance is continual as governments ©Dr Pauline Loewenberger 1
attempt to manage demands for expenditure to improve the quality of life that exceed their incomes’ (Dodgson and Gann 2010:15). However, perceptions of innovation as critical or important (Searle and Ball 2003) are not ubiquitous. Many companies still regard innovation as an irritant that gets in the way of ‘real work’ (Basadur and Gelade 2006). Realisation in practice demands raised awareness and understanding of the need for creativity and innovation and how organisational capability might be developed. Unfortunately, commitment and capability are often lacking (Salaman and Storey 2002) and aspirations blocked because of perceived risk, lack of understanding of what this means, how to generate and implement creative ideas, manage the creativity and innovation processes and overcome institutionalised routines and inertia (Storey 2000). Simply, ‘It [innovation] is the theatre where the excitement of experimentation and learning meets the organizational realities of limited budgets, established routines, disrupted priorities, and constrained imagination’ (Dodgson and Gann 2010:12). More than a decade ago Storey (2000) observed extensive differences between managers in the...
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