Structural & social integration : help or hindrance to bottom-up innovation?

Hendron, Michael Greg, 1971-
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This dissertation investigates factors that influence efforts by lower-level employees to initiate organizational change and innovation from the bottom up. Specifically, I attempt to reconcile competing theories regarding the effects of structural and social integration on individual innovation efforts. One theoretical view posits that integration provides information, ideas, and motivation necessary for innovation. An alternative view is that integration constrains individuals and routines, and thereby hinders innovation efforts. Drawing on both theoretical perspectives, I predict the effects of distinct types of structural integration (e.g., centralization, cross-unit integration, boundary spanning) and social integration determinants (e.g., geographic dispersion, decision process involvement, workplace network size) on the likelihood of individual innovation efforts among lower-level employees. I also consider the effects of interactions of social and structural integration with individual characteristics (i.e., personality, and experience) on innovation efforts. I test these predictions using survey data collected from interns and supervisors in the context of MBA and undergraduate internships. Analyses demonstrate that several aspects of structural integration do influence the levels of individual innovation efforts. For example, centralization and boundary spanning levels of the work unit have inverse U-shaped