Enhancing organisational innovativeness in a Malay cultural environment
Essentially this study is founded upon the culture-specific thesis that organisational processes are influenced to a large extent by the cultural settings in which they operate. Hence management processes such as the management of innovations in organisations; ought to be culturally relative. The main objectives of this study are: i to identify, the major cultural values of the Sarawak Malays of relevance to the facilitation or inhibition of "innovatogenic" behaviour in an organisational context ii to identify, assess and evaluate active strategies used to nurture "innovatogenic" behaviour in some Malay organisations in response to these cultural influences, with due attention being paid to both thoses trategies which exploit any positive influence and those which aim to overcome any negative influence of such cultural values iii to highlight issues worthy of consideration in developing 'culturally' appropriate' strategies to nurture 'innovatogenic' behaviour (In particular, the study aims to demonstrate that (i) the innovation process is culture specific and (ii) any strategies employed must take a holistic approach and ensure that the both the structural aspects and ideational aspects of such strategies are congruent with each other). A qualitative research involving two phases of fieldwork was employed: Phase 1 . The Key Informant Interview. Unstructured interviews were conducted with twenty senior managers. These managers were purposely selected for their vast experience in managing Malay workers, both at managerial and operative levels. These interviews focused on two aspects: (a) their views and perspectives regarding Malay cultural values and beliefs and whether these values and beliefs had any impact on their 'innovation producing' behaviour. (b) The strategies used to incorporate these values and beliefs into their managerial philosophies and practices. Phase 2. Case studies of three selected organisations. A month was spent in each of three organisations; collecting information on eight key aspects of the organisations: strategic focus, management/leadership style; management attitude/orientation- . infrastructure, task structure, ideas management, performance management and orgarlisational climate. Both interview and survey methods of data collection were employed. The Ekvall's Creative Climate Questionnairew as then used to assesst he creative climate of the organisations. Data analysis was guided by a conceptual framework that linked the capability. means, and motivation of individuals to behave' innovatogenrically' with the structural and ideational features of the organisation. The main findings of the study indicate that (i) Malays are very concerned with maintaining harmonious relationship with superiors and peers. A tendency for collective behaviour, a need for personalised relationships, deference to leaders, loyalty to group and leader, and a focus on social benefit of an action to group and self were key features of this realtionship orientation Consequently, Malay organisations seem to be characterised by socially determined form of work relationship and priorities that are not conducive to the generation and exploitation of ideas. ii Organisational behaviour is culture specific: the social beliefs , values and customs of a society and the concomitant impact of these on organisational behaviour is significant and cannot be ignored. Subjective interpretations of strategies, procedures and practices by members of an organisation shapes their behaviour in relation to them. As such, an organisation cannot be made innovative through the introduction ( or imposition) of new strategies or mechanismws ithout due considerationsto the dominanti deationalm oder elating to theses trategiesa nd mechanism.