ERIC Number: EJ1071797
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
Innovative Work Behaviour in Vocational Colleges: Understanding How and Why Innovations Are Developed
Messmann, Gerhard; Mulder, Regina H.
Vocations and Learning, v4 n1 p63-84 Apr 2011
In workplaces, innovative products and processes are required to address emerging problems and challenges. Therefore, understanding of employees' innovative work behaviour, including the generation, promotion, and realisation of ideas as components of this behaviour is important. In particular, what fosters innovation development and what triggers these activities is important for its promotion and adoption in contemporary workplaces. To investigate how and why innovations at work are developed and enacted, an explorative study comprising structured interviews with vocational teachers in the German vocational system was conducted. The teachers reported on activities they undertook during the development of a specific innovation. Furthermore, they provided information on factors that made this innovation necessary and that they were activated by. The study indicates that even when opportunities for innovation development existed in a workplace, the needs and goals of teachers were pivotal for these opportunities to be recognised and teachers' innovative work behaviour to be triggered. By analysing vocational teachers' work activities, we found that the development of innovations was a complex, iterative and primarily social process. By encouraging teachers to act on opportunities for change and by establishing a collaborative structure at schools, innovation development can be facilitated. We also found that throughout the development of an innovation, reflection played an important role. If the importance of reflective activities is acknowledged by workplaces such as these participants' vocational schools, this not only fosters innovations but also the teachers' professional development.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Vocational Education, Employees, Structured Interviews, Vocational Education Teachers, Educational Innovation, Teaching Methods, Change Strategies, Cooperation, Reflection, Postsecondary Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany