Explaining Innovation at Work: A Socio-Personal Account
This chapter proposes a socio-personal account that explains innovations at work. These innovations are central to sustaining the viability of enterprises in the face of continual changes in work requirements and client needs. They also comprise the process through which workers come to both learn and actively remake their occupational practices. That is, innovations have important personal and socially derived purposes, and employee-driven innovations are no exception. Moreover, processes securing and sustaining innovations at work draw on interdependently personal and social contributions. For there to be new practices that secure effective responses to emerging or desired workplace goals, there must be situational premises for these innovations, including the means for them to be supported and adopted, and also the personal engagement by workers for these innovations to be enacted. These personal and social dualistic contributions are used here to provide an explanation of what constitutes innovations at work, in particular employee-led innovations, and how they might progress. Central to this explanatory account are concepts associated with workplace affordances (i.e. how individuals are permitted to participate in work) and individual engagements (i.e. how individuals elect to participate in that work), and, importantly, the relations amongst them. Thus, these contributions comprise a duality that is interdependent and relational. This interdependence includes considerations of the sometimes necessary and sometimes hindering bounding of workers' personal agency by workplace settings.
Employee-driven innovation: A new approach
Technical, Further and Workplace Education