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Organizational IT Can Encourage Employee Creativity


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Research suggests that non-specialized, everyday organizational IT can encourage employees' creativity.

"Exploring the Role of IT in the Front-End of Innovation: An Empirical Study of IT-Enabled Creative Behavior," published in the journal Information and Organization, shows that standard IT can be used for innovation. Furthermore, this is much more likely to happen when the technology is in the hands of employees who are motivated to master technology, understand their role in the organization, are recognized for their efforts, and are encouraged to develop their skills.

"What this study reveals is that innovation is found not just by using technology specifically created to support idea-generation," says co-author Dorit Nevo, an associate professor in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Creativity comes from both the tool and the person who uses it."

By developing a theoretically grounded model to examine IT-enabled innovation in an empirical study, the researchers found that employees who are motivated to master IT can use even standard technology as a creativity tool.

"An organization can get a lot more value out of their IT technology if they let the right people use them and then support them," Nevo says. "This added value will, in turn, save organizations money. You just have to trust your employees to be able to innovate with the technologies you have."

Additional authors of the study are Saggi Nevo from the University at Albany and Alain Pinsonneault from McGill University.

From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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