The influence of self-efficacy and perceived organisational support on idea implementation

Grobler, Rikus (2018-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.


ENGLISH SUMMARY: The successful exploitation of new ideas is crucial to organisations. Through the ability to generate and implement useful new ideas, organisations can improve processes, bring new and improved products and services to market, increase efficiencies, improve profitability and generate sustainable competitive advantage. Every person has the potential to generate worthwhile ideas and employees inevitably have potentially useful ideas about possible improvements in their workplace. However, ideas have to be implemented to exploit their value, and only when a useful idea is ultimately implemented, effecting change and realising benefits for the organisation, is it regarded as innovation. Therefore, for the organisation that wants to become more innovative, the challenge for management is to determine how to successfully and consistently translate the potentially useful ideas of employees into innovative action and results. A person can come up with an idea on their own, but implementation of an idea takes place in the realism of the organisation. Thus, individual-level factors and organisational-level factors play a role in idea implementation by employees in organisations, and consequently two key constructs were selected for this study, namely self-efficacy (S-E) as an individual-level factor; and perceived organisational support (POS) as an organisational-level factor. Accordingly, the objectives of this study were based on investigating the influence of S-E and POS and associated variables on idea implementation by employees in an organisation. The study used a mixed method research strategy. Initially a qualitative approach was taken to generate data through the lenses of S-E and POS on people who were successful at implementing ideas in their respective organisations. Analysis of this data led to the discovery of certain behaviours which were postulated to influence idea implementation in an organisation. These behaviours were then formulated as variables which were subsequently incorporated in a quantitative approach to determine the extent of their effects in numbers. The quantitative phase involved a multi-factor experiment where data was collected through a personally administered questionnaire. The different factors that were postulated to influence idea implementation were manipulated through the experimental vignette methodology (EVM). The EVM involved the presentation of a simulated scenario to a participant implicating a situation where a useful idea could be implemented by the participant, and participants were then asked to make a judgement on the chance of successfully implementing the idea. The empirical results of the study confirmed that S-E and POS are positively related to idea implementation by employees in an organisation, and further indicated which behaviours improve the chances of ideas being implemented successfully. Other conclusions drawn from the interpretation of the results are that at the organisational level, simple, unpretentious acts of support from managers, such as genuinely listening to a person’s idea and displaying confidence in a person’s abilities to implement an idea, have a positive influence on idea implementation; and, at the individual level, improvement of employees’ interpersonal communication competence and encouragement of employees’ inquisitiveness could also improve individual innovative behaviour. The simultaneous investigation of individual-level factors and organisational-level factors which lead to the identification of specific managerial behaviours and individual traits that could improve the chances of successful idea implementation by employees, is a significant contribution of this study. In addition, a contribution is also made by the study’s utilisation of the experimental vignette methodology in the field of innovation.

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