Organizational Culture – How Does It Affect Innovation And Creativity?
Do you feel a positive change in yourself when you join a new organization? You begin to feel more motivated, empowered, and comfortable at work. Out of a sudden, you have become more creative, and your decision-making skills have enhanced. All this is happening not because of those extra hundred bucks in your salary but because of your new workplace’s positive organizational culture.
Organizational culture is the collective set of ideas that glues the entire workforce together into a single unit. It is the overall workplace philosophy that sketches a specific environment around employees. It is the set of beliefs, ideas, and values that form an organization’s intrinsic fabric. Nowadays, people also relate organizational culture to management. However, it is the basic framework upon which the managerial protocols rely.
Organizational culture has many dimensions. There are counter-cultures, sub-cultures, strong cultures, and weak cultures all reside within the same organization. Each dimension has an impact on different performance standards. Organizations like Toyota have a high performance and accuracy-based culture, meaning they value continuous improvement. Organizations like Microsoft have a soft culture and promote empowerment; they even celebrate employee’s failures but garner creativity. In contrast, organizations like Google have an innovative culture, promoting individual innovation.
Hence, it becomes clear that organizational culture sets the ground for the behavioral output of employees. Similarly, this article discusses five aspects where corporate culture affects innovation and creativity.
Value Academic Acumen
Some organizations value experience over education, while some prefer academic importance. When an organization values academic profiles with innovative backgrounds, it sets an entire culture to promote creativity. Employees can avail themselves of AACSB online MBA no GMAT degrees for studying organizational innovation and creativity. It will allow them to develop creative skills and test their expertise in corporate settings.
However, very few recruitment drives show interest in these profiles. Those who appreciate these degrees possess an organizational culture that promotes innovation and creativity. Only these organizations are capable of deriving long-term success. IBM, 3M, Accenture, Procter and Gamble, and the Alibaba Group are infamous for their innovative workforce. They respect the proper academic background, which is also evident from their creative recruitment drives.
Support for the Frontline Employees
Innovation does not surface in an organization on its own. It is the higher management and leadership that provide encouraging platforms to extract creative input from employees. Can organizational leaders motivate frontline employees to be creative? Indeed, they can.
Organizational leaders need to make employees believe that they support innovation. They must also ensure that frontline employees understand the core business philosophy. So they do not wander away from the sole purpose of business while exercising creativity. Once it happens, a progressive organizational culture germinates that propels creativity and innovation on its own.
A shared concept of innovation
Just asking someone to be on time without providing him a timeline sounds absurd. Similarly, just asking your employees to be innovative without actually producing a shared innovation concept will never generate results. Organizational culture sets the air for that shared understanding. It defines the limits and proposes the proper standards to be creative and innovative while remaining within the acceptable threshold.
Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean technological advancements. Most organizational cultures are inclined toward incremental innovation, which refers to a progressive improvement in an organization’s existing products, services, or work practices. Corporate culture has a direct impact on such an innovative and creative approach. It dictates when, how much, and what kind of creative room is available for improvement.
The culture of appreciation
The best way to motivate employees is to recognize and appreciate individual contributions. It makes them intrinsically motivated. Therefore, an organizational culture of performance appraisals and workforce acknowledgment conditions employees to be innovative. It naturally propels the best-fit approach in an organization. Employees start to develop the most appropriate work orientations and SOPs. Which, in return, incorporates innovation and creativity.
Management beyond Borders
There are many instances where employees have the freedom to be innovative but only in the headquarters and not in regional branches. Though it is true for multinational organizations, some local businesses operating in different regions also follow this practice. That is where organizational culture again plays a significant role.
Leadership and higher management fail to create an environment where innovation trickles down through a domino effect till the regional operations. It then creates inefficiency in translating creativity to practical grounds. It is mainly because a considerable fraction of employees are just following orders than being creative. However, they can devise a better business plan for regions since they have firsthand experience of ground realities.
Organizational Culture: Conclusion
Innovation and creativity never germinate in isolation. It is always a combined effort of all organizational stakeholders. Thus, employees must possess the proper skillset and academic understanding to exercise creativity. Organizations must promote a shared understanding of innovation. All these things collectively produce an organizational culture conducive to innovation and creativity. Organizations should focus on the factors that can stimulate creativity rather than following contemporary practices.