Have innovative ideas that need implementing? Increase job embeddedness of mid- to late- career stage employees.

Topic: Performance
Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV-DEC, 2010)
Article: The impact of job embeddedness on innovation-related behaviors
Authors: T.W.H. Ng, D.C. Feldman
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

In recent years, organizations have faced increased pressures to continually be innovative in order to survive in a competitive marketplace. New work by Ng and Feldman (2010) suggests that job embeddedness could be a potential strategy to bolster innovative behaviors by employees. Job embeddedness attempts to explain how employee fit (organization-employee match), links (personal relationships at work), and sacrifice (loss of rewards and benefits if turnover) keep employees with their current organizations even when other opportunities are available. Research consistently shows that highly embedded employees are increasingly motivated to perform well in their jobs because they feel committed and invested in the success of the organization. But are highly embedded employees also more likely to engage in innovative-related behaviors and is this consistent across all employees?

In short, the answer is yes. Highly embedded employees are more apt to engage in innovation-related behaviors. However, while they are not more likely to generate innovative ideas, they are more inclined to spread the innovative ideas throughout the organization and actually implement the ideas. But wait; before you run to implement new policies, the current article also suggests that this trend is not consistent across all employees. In fact, those highly embedded employees in their mid- to late-career stages are significantly more likely to spread and implement innovative ideas than those early in their career.

These results suggest that if an organization is currently generating an abundance of innovative ideas but is looking to spread and implement more of these ideas then increasing job-embeddedness might be a strategy. However, it is important to emphasize that this strategy will be most effective for those who are in their more advanced career stages  and may actually decrease motivation for those just starting their careers.

Ng, T.W.H., & Feldman, D.C. (2010). The impact of job embeddedness on innovation-related behaviors. Human Resource Management, 49(6), 1067-1087