Information Systems Workforce and Innovative Work Behavior: The Role of Participatory Management, Affective Trust and Guanxi

Information Systems Workforce and Innovative Work Behavior: The Role of Participatory Management, Affective Trust and Guanxi

Saqib Jamil, Vimolwan Yukongdi
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJSWIS.2020010107
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This research examined the mediating role of affective trust along with the moderating role of supervisor–subordinate guanxi on the relationship between innovative work behavior and participatory management. Utilizing data gathered from information workforce consisting of 333 employees in addition to 38 leaders of six firms operating in China, the research affirms that trust mediated the relationship between innovative work behavior and participatory management. This study concludes that a strong relation between participatory management and innovative work behavior exists provided high-quality supervisor–subordinate guanxi is present among employees. The findings and implications for this research are discussed at the end.
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In today’s competitive world, continuous improvement in processes, products, and services is critical for organizational success (Epstein, 2018). The information systems support the organizations to be competitive, successful organizations mostly have one of the elements that enable it to perform better than other organization, which may range from new product development to competitive information systems workforce (Laudon & Laudon, 2018; Zhu et al., 2011). The innovation introduced by information systems workforce is among the best ways to achieve organizational competitiveness (Naranjo et al., 2017). Motivated employee participation is essential to innovate in intense knowledge-based work contexts. The effect of participation by employees and their informal ties with supervisors have caught attention of researchers and practitioners alike. However, the way participatory management affects innovative work behavior of employees has not been adequately researched (Cheung et al., 2009).

Clearly, there is a need to understand the manner in which participatory management influence innovative work behavior of their subordinates (Odoardi et al., 2015). The literature exhibits innovative work behavior involves complex procedures, as individuals are reluctant to raise their voices in the organizations due to ‘the factor of unknown’. The process of generating new ideas and implementing them encompass the greater amount of risk. The participatory management might help employees to overcome such fear of unknown and/or failure.

Han and Altman (2009) observed an increased interest in studying guanxi in China during last several decades. Supervisor-subordinate guanxi is a set of broad and far-reaching interpersonal and informal connections between two or more individuals to maintain harmonious relationships, social experiences, networks, and trust. Supervisor-subordinate guanxi is an overlap between work and social relations where both parties try to build strong interpersonal, non-work related, casual, and unceremonious relations through social exchange activities such as home visits, attending birthday parties and other personal functions. Chinese people use it to articulate their affiliation with supervisors and coworkers (Chen et al., 2009).

The complicated nature of innovative work behavior, which involves unacceptability of the proposed idea that would drive toward uncertain future, draws our attention to some intervening variables that could help organizations to strengthen the effect of participatory management on innovative work behavior of the employees. One such intervening variable might be the level of informal relationship between a subordinate and supervisor. This informal relationship can foster the confidence of the subordinate to try out new things, thinking out of the box solutions, and to positively drive a compelling change in the organizational processes, systems, and procedures. Stronger the relationship between parties, the higher is the propensity to display innovative work behavior under the participatory management since individuals feel secure. Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory is a relationship-based approach that focuses on the two-way (dyadic) relationship between leaders and followers. It strictly restricts to work-related exchanges between supervisors and their subordinates (Zhang et al., 2015). While Supervisor–subordinate guanxi is a dynamic and broad concept which interpreted as informal, sentimental, dyadic connection via favorable exchanges and trust between subordinates and their immediate supervisors (Cheung et al., 2009).

Supervisor-subordinate guanxi is proved to relate significantly with positive work performance (Zhang et al., 2015), job assignments, promotions, job satisfaction and job involvement (Cheung et al., 2009). However, the impact of supervisor-subordinate guanxi on innovative work behavior has been a missing link. The current research addresses the need to investigate the moderating effect of supervisor-subordinate guanxi on the relationship between participatory management and innovative work behavior (a type of extra-work behavior), as not much is known about the moderation result of supervisor-subordinate guanxi on this linkage. Where participatory management accelerates the innovative work behavior by developing a trust-based relationship.

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