טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentAshkenazi Ortal
SubjectThe Effect of Locus of Control and Creative Self Efficacy
on Innovation: The Moderating Role of
Embracing Paradox
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Professor Ella Miron-Spektor
Dr. Dana Vashdi
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

As the business environment becomes more global, competitive, and faces rapid changes, employees are increasingly required to innovate. Innovation - the implementation of creative ideas in the organization - requires integrating conflicting ideas, perspectives and demands. We draw from theory on paradox to suggest that embracing paradox, or one’s comfort with, and acceptance of tensions and contradictions, is critical for innovative performance. We examine whether embracing paradox shapes the effects of two key personal characteristics that have been proved critical for innovation: locus of control and creative self-efficacy. We suggest that employees with an internal locus of control, who believe that they have control over their own life, are likely to innovate only when they embrace paradoxes and tensions. When they resist tensions and try to eliminate them, their proactive approach leads them to search for "either/or" solutions that are detrimental to innovation. We also suggest that creative self-efficacy, or one’s confidence in his or her ability to successfully perform creativity tasks, has a curvilinear relationship with innovation, with moderate levels of self-efficacy associated with high innovation performance. This effect is weaker among employees who tend to embrace paradoxes.

This study was conducted in a manufacturing plant of advanced electro-optics technologies in the Israeli Defense Industry. We measured innovation as the number of creative ideas that received a decision to be implemented in the plant during 3 years. These ideas were generated and submitted by employees (N = 95) as part of an innovation program. A panel of 8-10 senior managers and experts evaluated each idea and decided whether to implement it in the plant. 

The results supported our predictions. Embracing paradoxes moderates the relationship between internal locus of control and creative self-efficacy and employee innovative performance. The relationship between internal locus of control and innovation was positive only among employees who tend to accept and feel comfortable with tensions. Low and high levels of creative self-efficacy are detrimental to innovation, but only for employees who are uncomfortable and tend to resist tensions and contradictions.