Study: Employee Engagement Drives Innovation

Posted: Updated:
Mike Goldsby (photo courtesy of Ball State Magazine) Mike Goldsby (photo courtesy of Ball State Magazine)

A new Ball State University study suggests companies that place a higher emphasis on their employees may be more innovative and entrepreneurial. The study, "Social reactiveness and innovation: The impact of stakeholder salience on corporate entrepreneurship," examined 200 senior-level managers and developed a social proactivness scale which measured a manager's priorities toward internal and external issues. Mike Goldsby, executive director for the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Ball State, led the study and says companies that were more proactive on internal social issues saw greater innovation.

The study was done in conjunction with researchers from Indiana University, New Mexico State University, Iowa State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Goldsby said the results of the study were surprising.

"What drove innovation was socially-proactive, ethically-driven companies on the way they treat their people, on their HR practices," said Goldsby. "Essentially, the key finding is that if you want to drive innovation, be people oriented and as the people are taken care of, if you've got a progressive, inclusive and supportive internal culture, then people are going to be more engaged and there's going to be more innovations coming."

Goldsby says while external social issues may not necessarily drive innovation, that doesn't mean they're not important. That category includes issues such as external environmental policies, community relations, and employees' involvement in community groups and functions outside of the company. 

Goldsby is also the chief entrepreneurship officer and the distinguished professor of entrepreneurship at Ball State. He adds in today's business environment, if a company wants to maintain competitiveness, it is very much driven by innovation and creativity. 

"The best place to start is looking to your people," said Goldsby. "One finding in a previous study I did that I think really plays out here is people will be as committed to the company as they feel supported by the managers and by the organization. So if you want committed, engaged, innovative people, and as we know that innovation usually comes from a lot of people, not just one person, if you want that to happen then you really need to think about how to treat your people well and make them feel that the company cares about them."

The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Small Business Strategy. You can view the study below:

Goldsby said the results of the study were surprising.
  • Perspectives

    • Baby Boomers Are Impacting the Building Industry

      There are currently 78 million baby boomers in the U.S., making up 25% of the population and controlling 67% ($28 trillion) of the country’s wealth, according to the Living In Place Institute. AARP says 90% of people surveyed want to remain as long as possible in their homes. The majority of those 65 and older remodel their home to make it safer and accessible. In fact, 45% of all remodeling work is being done for people over the age of 65. With this amount of data supporting...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Hub & Spoke Aims to Fuel 'Purpose and Passion'

      The co-founder of a $16 million mixed-use development in Fishers says the project aims to have the biggest social impact possible. Officials broke ground Tuesday on Hub & Spoke, which will include a design center, coworking space and makerspace when completed. David Decker says the project is the first of its kind in the nation and seeks to help people find their purpose and passion and tie that into their vocation. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter...

    • (Photo Courtesy: Roche Diagnostics)

      Roche VP on List of Influential Women Executives

      An executive with Roche Diagnostics has joined an exclusive list of prominent and influential women, including Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.  Cindy Carlisle, Vice President of Human Resources at Roche Indy, was named to Savoy Magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America. 

    • The facility could be build within the River Ridge Commerce Center.

      Jeffersonville Being Considered for CBD Plant

      California-based Layn USA could soon establish operations in southern Indiana. One Southern Indiana, the economic development organization and chamber of commerce for Clark and Floyd counties, says the company has signed a purchase and sales agreement with the River Ridge Development Authority for a proposed $52 million CBD manufacturing facility. The project, the company says, would have the capacity to process a minimum of 5,000 tons of hemp biomass each year. As part of the...

    • Rendering courtesy of Two EEs Winery

      Two-EE's Winery to Adopt New Age Policy

      Two-EE's Winery in Huntington has announced it will adopt a new age policy begining in August. Our partners at WPTA-TV report the winery will no longer allow people aged under 21 to visit the establishment due to ongoing problems with unsupervised or misbehaving children. 

    • New Mixed-Use Development Planned for Fishers

      A new mixed-use development is coming to Fishers. Thompson Thrift Retail Group has announced the development of The Station, an office building that is part of an overall project that includes a 150-room hotel, a future retail pad along 116th Street and nearly 40 3-story townhomes.