Funded by UK Research and Innovation, this project explores how workplace and job design practices shape employees’ wellbeing and involvement in innovation, and how insights on these issues can help address the UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’. It breaks new ground in testing and exploring relationships between workplace and management practices supporting innovative work climates, job demands/resources (JDR), work engagement, and employee outcomes that can contribute to improved productivity through employee wellbeing and innovative work behaviours (IWBs).

The central thesis of this research is that a broad range of organisational characteristics and management practices associated with workplace innovation – such as decentralised organisational structures, wider information sharing, supporting enterprising behaviours, and progressive HR practices – can help develop resource-rich jobs and innovative work climates associated with higher work engagement and innovative work behaviours that impact positively on productivity.

Methods and Participants

The project team are using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, including survey and case study tools, to undertake in-depth research in 30 organisations, that employ over 100 employees, across a range of sectors including; Business Services, Construction, Energy, Engineering and Technology, Hospitality and Tourism, and Manufacturing. A mutual gains approach to engagement with stakeholders is used that ensures these businesses benefit from access to high quality, rigorous, business and sector-specific research findings.

In addition, the project also involves the design and deployment of potential interventions in four of these businesses to test solutions with employers in the form of workplace and job redesign interventions that might support employee wellbeing and IWBs. Potential interventions will be informed by the results of quantitative data analysis and qualitative insights drawn from case study research.

Findings and Outputs

Data collection for this project is currently underway – the research will provide robust evidence on the effectiveness of particular management practices on innovation, performance and wellbeing. Findings will be shared on the PrOPEL Hub website as the project develops.

In addition to the academic outputs of this project, a practice-focused publication summarising key lessons for workplace practices and interventions to drive wellbeing, innovation and productivity, drawn from intervention sites and the broader sample of case study organisations will be developed.

Furthermore, a series of masterclasses will be created to share key lessons from the research and deliver impact by targeting key stakeholders, informing practice at workplace and sectoral level, stimulating debate and challenging practice within government and policy communities in the UK.

Research Team

This project is being undertaken by a team of researchers in Strathclyde Business School including: Professor Patricia Findlay, Professor Colin Lindsay, Professor Graeme Roy, Professor Sir Harry Burns, Jo McQuarrie and Dr Eli Dutton, alongside world leading experts in Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) Theory and work engagement Professor Arnold Bakker and Professor Evangelia Demerouti.

Get involved

To find out more or to get involved please get in touch with Colin Lindsay at colin.lindsay@strath.ac.uk

Learn More

At the recent CIPD Applied Research Conference, some of the research team shared insights from the research to date.