Encouraging creativity in SME contexts – Reconceptualising HRM as a non-linear activity
British Academy of Management
This paper argues that current conceptualisations regarding how SMEs encourage creativity through HRM are based on a flawed notion of linearity. Recognising creativity as the most personal and individualistic of endeavours, built from difference and divergence, coupled with the unpredictability and irrationality of human behaviour, it is argued to be illogical to expect to bring it about through static conceptions of HRM. Instead, supported by empirical evidence, this paper builds a theory arguing that HRM must be conceptualised as an inherently non-linear function. Non-linear HRM is argued to be distinguished by dynamism in planning and structuring of the workforce, flexible conceptions of HRM and intelligently adaptive HRM processes. Fundamentally, employees must be seen as intelligent, informed and active partners in the process of creation. This paper provides evidence collected from a variety of SMEs, outlining differences in approaches to the management of people, and how SMEs can best encourage creativity through HRM.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the British Academy of Management
BAM2016 conference, 6-8 September 2016, Newcastle, UK