The Role of HRM for Innovation: A Conceptual and Analytical Study

The Role of HRM for Innovation: A Conceptual and Analytical Study

Sandra Marnoto (Instituto Universitário da Maia, Portugal & Universidade do Porto, Portugal) and Célio A.A. Sousa (Instituto Universitário da Maia, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3012-1.ch012

Abstract

Innovation is fundamental to organization performance and survival in a continuously changing and highly competitive world. In organizations, innovation occurs primary and foremost through purposeful and discretionary actions of knowledgeable and motivated individuals. However, despite some insightful studies, studies addressing the role of HRM in promoting innovation are in short supply. An enabling work environment—resources, motivation, and management practices—may be crucial for creativity and thus innovation. HRM policies and interventions have the potential to promote trust, cooperation, and collective codes and language. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is twofold: 1) to review the role of creativity and knowledge sharing for innovation and 2) to review the role of HRM for stimulating innovation through creativity and knowledge sharing. In so doing, the authors seek to shed light on the conceptual and analytical connections between motivation, creativity, knowledge, innovation, and HRM.
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Introduction

In recent years, the relationship between Human Resources Management (HRM) and innovation has drawn serious attention from researchers, fueling an increasing yet still limited number of empirical studies on the subject (e.g. Beugelsdijk, 2008; Chen & Huang, 2008; Perdomo-Ortiz, et al., 2009). Unsurprisingly, most of these studies suggest a positive effect of HRM policies and practices on innovation. These works rest on the assumption that employees are the source of the organization’s innovative capabilities (Subramaniam & Youndt, 2005) and, as such, HRM practices are believed to influence the organization’s innovative performance by shaping the level of motivation and capabilities of the employees (Jiménez-Jiménez & Sanz-Valle, 2008). Gupta and Sindgal (1993), for example, argue that innovation is not an accident and that prosperous organizations successfully manage their human resources in order to develop and distribute new products and services.

However, the connections between HRM policies and interventions and innovation are still a black box (Seeck & Diehl, 2017), as few systematic attempts have been made to understand how these practices influence innovation. Seeck and Diehl (2017) argue that conceptual and theoretical studies are needed if this relationship is to be better understood. Given the acknowledged importance of innovation for organizational effectiveness, flexibility, adaptation and survival, it should come as no surprise that more work is needed to investigate how HRM can contribute to influence innovation in positive terms.

The aim of this chapter is twofold: 1) to review the role of creativity and knowledge sharing for innovation, and 2) to review the role of HRM for stimulating creativity and knowledge sharing. In so doing, we seek to shed light into the conceptual and analytical connections between motivation, creativity, knowledge, innovation and Human Resources Management.

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