Workplace innovations and employee outcomes

2005 – In recent literature on workplace innovation two conflicting views are visible. On one side is the high performance work system (HPWS) praised for having positive results on the areas of job security and satisfaction. On the other hand you may hear the critisism that HPWS just leads to intensified jobs and more stress. In this report, these aspects are discussed on the basis of data obtained from individual workers in Finland.

On the basis of a model workshop innovations and their influence on workers are discussed. The available literature on workplace innovations is then highlighted. Finally, the results of the survey under the Finnish workers are discussed.

After comparison, there appears to be more support for the positive vision of the HPWS. The results also show that there are differences between individual situations. Sharing information has  positive effects everywhere, while the influence of training and self-managing teams differs more.
When looking at individual practices, then the results show that different forms of innovation have different influences on the staff. Information sharing consistently has a positive impact on employees. This suggests that there are positive effects of involvement. Self-managed teams and training generally have a positive influence; such as more control, higher wages and more satisfaction. But on the other hand, self-managing teams and training are also associated with heavier jobs and more stress.
When comparing traditional workplaces with innovative workplaces, then is shown that innovations often have positive effects on workers; and few negative. The results show an understandable overview of the impact of workplace innovation on the employees. Further research should evaluate these influences both on organizational and on individual level.

See the appendices for the full report ‘Workplace Innovation and employee outcomes’ (2005) by P. Kalmi and A. Kauhanen.