Encouraging staff self-improvement is the only way for competitive workplaces to succeed.
That is the view of BI Norwegian Business School, who undertook research that revealed those companies that emphasise personal accomplishments and development of employees, as well as competition between them, see more creative ideas being fulfilled.
A study was undertaken by Miha Skervalaj, Professor from the Department of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour, which looked at the effect of two different working environments: mastery and performance.
The former is a working culture associated with increased wellbeing, higher work productivity, and an environment that rewards self-improvement, effort, as well as cooperation.
A performance work environment meanwhile emphasises competition and comparing achievements to those of colleagues; this culture is related to withdrawal of effort, high employee turnover and, worryingly, burnout.
Professor Skervalaj said that the results of the research, which are published in the European Management Review, show that combining both work climates results in more ideas being implemented.
“We found that a combination of the two work climates improves the relationship between idea generation and idea implementation: ideas were most frequently implemented in companies with high mastery and high performance climates.
“This suggests that introducing a mastery work environment is useful for stimulating idea implementation and for negating disadvantages of a performance work environment.”
Crucially for CEOs, it reveals that competitive work environments promote creativity and implementation of ideas only when employees adopt self-improvement goals.
As a result, if CEOs want to increase implementation of creative ideas in their companies, they would benefit from combining a mastery climate with one that focuses on performance.
There is a balance to be struck in terms of implementing ideas; generating too many can actually lead to fewer being carried out, which leaves a company worse off than if it hadn’t committed the resources on generating ideas in the first place.
It is why self-improvement is so important, according to the research.