2.4 Interdependencies

The following rows summarise the key Interdependencies for this Element.

Interdependent Workplace Practices for the Employee-Driven Innovation & Improvement Element

The Essential Fifth Element highlights the importance of understanding the interdependence between the workplace practices described in each of the four Elements. Each bundle of practices described by an Element does not exist in isolation but is influenced, for better or worse, by the extent to which it is aligned with the others. A major reason why change initiatives don’t deliver their full potential, or even fail completely, is that the organisation as a whole is not seen as a system of interdependent parts. New ways of working in one part of the system can trigger antibodies in the others.

For example, it is no use trying to engage employees in idea generation if line managers and performance targets deny them the time and space to step back from their functional tasks.

These Interdependencies must therefore be taken into account in designing and implementing action plans for change. Identifying interdependent workplace practices reveals the key to successful action planning and implementation.

Jobs, Teams & Technology Jobs which provide constructive challenges, opportunities for problem-solving and the exercise of discretion support enterprising behaviour and engagement in improvement and innovation, as do teams which take regular opportunities to reflect and learn together. Technologies which upgrade skills and enhance discretion also support improvement and innovation behaviours.
Organisational Structures, Management & Processes Fluid organisational structures and ease of working across functional areas are strongly associated with creativity and innovative thinking. Line managers must also coach and encourage enterprising behaviours, proactively creating times and opportunities for employee engagement in improvement and innovation. This should also be reflected in performance metrics and incentives, with minimal need for permission-seeking.
Co-Created Leadership & Employee Voice Employee-driven innovation & improvement should be clearly expressed and understood as a corporate value, and reflected in senior team behaviours and priorities. Open and transparent leadership creates shared understanding of corporate goals and priorities, stimulating and focusing innovation and improvement activities. Representative forums can also mobilise and champion employee-driven innovation & improvement.

Tutor’s tips:

What other Element Themes do you need to consider when contextualising your Innovation Project with this Elements Themes? When individuals and teams are encouraged to take the initiative (Enterprising Behaviour) and are given regular opportunities to improve the way they work (Continuous Improvement) they are better equipped and motivated to manage their own work autonomously.

Employees actively engaged in enterprising behaviour, innovation and improvement will gain the competence and motivation to take on responsibility and share leadership tasks. 

Are you able to engage employees in the change process and idea generation? Do line managers and performance targets deny or encourage them the time and space to step back from their functional tasks?

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