Supporting innovation through HR policy: evidence from the UK

Searle, Rosalind H. and Ball, Kirstie S. (2003). Supporting innovation through HR policy: evidence from the UK. Creativity and Innovation Management, 12(1) pp. 50–62.



This paper focuses on the relationship between the importance of innovation for organizations and their human resources policy. Drawing on survey findings, we examine the coherence of organizations’ utilization of HR recruitment, training and performance management policies to support and enhance firms’ innovation performance. Through a social–psychological perspective, we situate our findings in two diverse areas: the psychological literature, exploring the measurement of innovation, and second, with regard to the internal (with each other) and external (with broader organizational objectives) integration of distinct HR policy elements. Our surveyed organizations indicate that, whilst attaching importance to innovation, they fail to consistently translate this importance into coherent HR policies. Typically, HR policy rewarded non-managerial employees for innovation, whilst managerial staff were expected to do so as a matter of course. This inconsistency is one source of resistance which blocks the generation of new ideas, and their implementation, organization-wide.

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