Sustaining Organizational Innovation

Sustaining Organizational Innovation

Jeff Allen, Ashwini Joshua Gojer, Mariya Gavrilova-Aguilar, Denise Philpot
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-068-2.ch038
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Organizational change is a situation, while innovation is an attitude of change. Organizations cannot, in a global economy, remain static and rooted in current practices. Organizational innovation is the necessary ingredient for successful change. More difficult than both change and innovation is the subject of sustainability. Change is often a temporary “fix” that quickly reverts to status-quo. This chapter recommends practices for change management and organizational innovation by reviewing change theories, describing innovation models, referencing sustainability leadership, and providing examples of technology integration. Educators, trainers, performance specialists, change agents, managers, and organizational development professionals will benefit by understanding the principles and future trends of innovation. Both educational institutions and industrial organizations will utilize the guiding questions to determine their readiness to embrace organizational innovation. The goal is to instill the need for an attitude of change in all stakeholders of the organization in order to be well equipped to direct the nation’s workforce.
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Globalization, rapid technological advancement, emergence of social technologies, focus on a service economy, change in workforce demographics, increase in retiring education and management professionals, and requirements for effective teamwork have affected not only our organizations and communities but societies as a whole. People are more mobile, strive to achieve work-life balance, and take responsibility for their own learning and professional development. The mediums and speed with which information is transmitted and responses generated have now transformed the workplace into a heterogeneous group with conflicting demands. Total Quality Management (TQM), mergers and acquisitions, and business process reengineering emerged as responses to the constantly evolving workplace and social landscape. Today, the challenges associated with change are not whether it will occur but whether the organization has the capabilities to diagnose the external and internal environments as well as plan, implement, and direct change initiatives. Nevertheless, change is ill-received, innovation is reluctantly accepted, and potentially impactful whole-scale initiatives are often unsustainable in the long-run.

Organizational change is a situation, while innovation is an attitude of change. In order to ensure sustainability of the initiatives, organizations should embrace a culture that encourages participation, promotes innovation, and aligns change efforts with specific business goals. A clear understanding and commitment toward innovation will perpetuate improved productivity, cost and resources savings, and a sustainable competitive advantage.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Episodic Change: Change that is a result of a single event, is infrequent, and while it is intentional, it is short term

Sustainability: The degree to which a program of change is continued after the initial resources provided by a change agency are ended

Sustainable Innovation: The ability of an innovation to continue after initial resources have been expended; long-term outcomes should consider the people, institution, and natural resources

Continuous Change: Change that recycles through a defined process frequently focused on performance, quality improvement or learning by organizations that view change as constant and necessary for success

Innovation: A complex process that leads to changes in processes, new products or services that address a business or market need

Organizational Change: Reaction, at the organizational level, to forces which can be internal or external, that demands a response in order for the organization to be successful. This reaction can include processes, attitudes, culture or leadership.

Change Agent: The individual in an organization that actively and effectively promotes change

Organizational Innovation: The successful utilization of processes, programs, or products which are new and introduced as a result of decisions made within the organization

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