Influences of organizational justice and organizational support on innovative work behavior in public sector employees
Mercer, Patricia Lynn
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Public sector organizations must address public demand for more efficient, effective, and open government, while simultaneously balancing the need to operate with limited financial and staff resources. One way public organizations can overcome these challenges is to become more innovative. This correlational study examined how public sector employees’ perceptions of organizational justice and organizational support in their work environments and selected descriptive factors (i.e., age, gender, and educational level) contributed to an understanding of innovative work behavior. Data were obtained from a secondary analysis of publicly available data from the United States Office of Personnel Management, which conducts annual surveys of federal employees. The sample consisted of 421,748 employees from 82 federal agencies. Results showed that when public sector employees perceive that their organizations treat them fairly, value their contributions, and care about their well-being, they are more likely to engage in innovative work behavior. Innovative work behavior refers to the willingness to share novel ideas (idea generation), discuss those ideas with co-workers and leaders in their organization (idea promotion), and work to implement those ideas (idea realization). Both organizational justice and organizational support played direct roles in a federal employee’s decision to engage in innovative work behavior. Selected descriptive factors - age, gender, and educational level - also were examined to determine the extent to which they explained federal employees’ innovative work behavior. However, adding the selected descriptive variables did not improve the overall model, suggesting that they were relatively unimportant. Findings from this study provide relevant information to managers, leaders, and politicians as they strive to make public sector organizations more efficient, effective, and adaptable to the social, economic, and political changes occurring in the 21st century. Results also provide key information to educators, human resource professionals, and others on how best to prepare the next generation of workers and workplaces to embrace innovation as a regular part of their job duties and responsibilities.