PurposeIn the current business environment, no organization is assured of survival without continuous innovation. Employees’ innovative behavior is critical to enhance the innovation of an organization. While most literature on innovative behavior has focused on employees in the private sector, the purpose of this paper is to explore the factors that affect innovative behaviors in the government sector. In particular, it examines how proactivity, leader-member exchange (LMX), and climate for innovation affect employees’ innovative behavior in the Korean government sector, which is generally characterized as highly hierarchical, structured, and formalized.Design/methodology/approachThe authors selected a sample of government employees in the Ministry of Education in Korea. Through the researchers’ contacts, ten government agencies agreed to recruit their employees to participate in the study. Data from 1,011 respondents were analyzed in two steps using structural equation modeling. First, to examine the construct validity of the measures, the authors examined the measurement model using the confirmatory factor analysis. Second, the interrelationships among the four variables were assessed. The hypothesized structural model was examined and compared to several alternative models to explore the best model fit to the data. The authors then examined the regression coefficients to determine the hypothesized relationships in the final structured model.FindingsThe results revealed the following: proactivity and climate for innovation had positive relationships with innovative behavior; LMX had a positive relationship with proactivity although it did not have a direct relationship with innovative behavior; and organizational climate for innovation did not ensure proactivity of employees.Originality/valueThe antecedents included in this research have been studied in relation to innovative behavior in several studies, but studies have called for further study. Few studies have examined innovative behavior in the public sector and they have examined innovation in the public sector which has mostly been focused on environmental factors surrounding government organizations or policy choices of government leaders while ignoring the individual traits of public workers, relational dynamics among people, and the cultural aspects of the organizations. This study investigated the interrelationships among the antecedents in the process of impacting innovative behavior in the public sector in Korea. In addition, little research has examined the antecedents of innovative behavior together. This study expands our knowledge of the roles and interrelationships of proactivity, LMX, and organizational climate for innovation as they relate to innovative behavior.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 5, 2018
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