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Can High-involvement Innovation Practices Improve Productivity And The Quality Of Working-life Simultaneously? Management And Employee Views On Comparison

Elise Ramstad

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This paper examines the association of high-involvement innovation practices (HIIPs) and simultaneous improvement of productivity and the quality of working life (QWL). HIIPs refer to work, managerial, and organizational practices that are intended for supporting continuous improvement and broad participation. The data are based on the evaluation surveys carried out by the Finnish Workplace Development Programme TYKES (2004–2010). TYKES was a governmental programme for promoting simultaneous improvements in productivity and the QWL in workplaces through changes in work, managerial, and organizational practices. Information obtained via two different surveys has been combined for the purposes of this article: a survey on HIIPs within a work organization (HIIP) and a self-assessment survey of project outcomes (SA). The survey material comprises altogether 253 responses from 163 different workplaces. The analysis provides evidence in favor of a view that publicly funded workplace development projects constitute appropriate means to support productivity and the QWL simultaneously. The results provide evidence that HIIPs, including decentralized decision making, competence development, internal cooperation, and external cooperation, are of importance when trying to gain better results in both productivity and the QWL from both management and employees’ point of view. In addition, the development process itself, that is, how the practices are implemented and good skills in project management, is highlighted. Concerning the supervisor’s supportive role in employees’ innovation activities, the picture is more mixed and surprising.