The Maximizing Innovator

By: Brandon Soltwisch  

Innovation behavior is the tendency to apply new ideas and approaches in the workplace. It has been associated with individual and organizational effectiveness in a variety of settings (Woodman, Sawyer, & Griffin, 1993, Janssen & Huang, 2008). Van de Van (1986) has noted that individuals become less aware of the need for change as they acclimate to their work environments over time. A recent development in the organizational psychology literature has begun to measure individual differences in preferences toward information search when making decisions (Schwarz 2002). Individuals who maximize strive to make the best possible choice by considering all potential alternatives. These individuals spend more time and effort to gather information. They are more likely to seek advice from experts, family and friends, and have a desire to explore options beyond what is currently available. Satisficers, on the other hand, are less likely to spend additional time and effort to explore new possibilities, as they tend to settle for options that meet their minimum criteria. This study investigated how decision-making styles (maximizing or satisficing) influence employees’ innovation behavior and entrepreneurial tendencies in a sample of 205 working adults. The results suggest that maximizers are more innovative, utilize an open-minded thinking strategy, and are more inclined to pursue entrepreneurial activities within and outside their careers. These findings lay the groundwork for new research on innovation and change management. They also provide useful advice to practitioners on how to develop a more innovative workforce.

Maximizer, Satisficer, Decision Making Style, Innovation, Change Management
Change Management
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Brandon Soltwisch

Associate Professor, Management, Unviersity of Northern Colorado, United States
United States

Dr. Soltwisch is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Northern Colorado. His research focuses on decision making within organizational contexts. He especially enjoys interdisciplinary research that yeirds new insights into management practice and theory, and his work can be found in many top business journals. Dr. Soltwisch has served as a board member for the Midwest Academy of Mangement since 2012.