Innovation and Occupational Stress
Innovation is often an important element of a successful work environment. Without new ideas, new products and services, and new ways of doing things, most businesses would probably not stay in business too long. Research has shown that innovation is associated with factors like goal clarity, feedback, and communication. Stress, however, has been somewhat neglected in most research on innovation in the workplace. Fortunately, researchers in Finland recently published the findings from a study in which they investigated whether occupational stress is associated with innovation.
The researchers in the present study surveyed 1,767 employees from health care organizations and the metal and retail industries. The results showed that increases in stress are associated with decreases in innovation. Furthermore, stress was distinguishable from the other factors related to innovation and it influenced the relations between innovation and the other factors related to innovation.
Although the present study was not designed to determine whether occupational stress influences innovation in the workplace or visa versa, it nonetheless demonstrates that the two are related. Evidently, an innovative work environment is not a high-stress work environment.
Source: Länsisalmi, H., & Kivimäki, M. (1999). Factors associated with innovative climate: What is the role of stress? Stress Medicine, 15, 203-213.