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International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302 – 1311

How to unleash the innovative work behavior of project staff?

The role of affective and performance-based factors
Thomas Spanuth a , Andreas Wald b,⁎
Horváth & Partner GmbH, Hamburger Allee 2-4, 60486 Frankfurt, Germany
School of Business and Law, University of Agder, Postboks 422, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway

Received 16 September 2016; received in revised form 26 March 2017; accepted 3 July 2017
Available online 25 July 2017


Although the literature generally presumes that temporary forms of organizing such as projects are especially suitable for generating innovation,
empirical support for this assumption that goes beyond case-based evidence is still scarce. The study at hand aims to close this gap in research by
investigating how the characteristics of temporary organizations (TOs) affect an individual's innovative work behavior (IWB). By applying a
structural equation modeling approach on an Austrian-German sample of 583 TO professionals, it can be shown that both, performance-based
factors and affective factors are having a significant impact on the emergence of IWB. However, the hypothesized moderating role of a TO-related
reward system has not been validated. Our results can help project managers to more effectively unleash the creative potential of their project staff
and to increase the innovativeness of project work.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Task proficiency; Innovative work behavior; Organizational commitment; Project; Reward management; Temporary organization

1. Introduction et al., 2002; Anderson et al., 2004; Yuan and Woodman, 2010;
Dörner, 2012). However, not only those employee-related
Innovation is an important means for achieving competitive factors are considered to be important aspects in generating
advantage. Accordingly, the number of scholarly works dealing innovation, but also the surrounding work environment. For
with innovation has increased tremendously over the last example, there is a common held assumption among organiza-
decades (Mumford, 2000; West, 2002; Ramamoorthy et al., tional scholars that temporary forms of organizing such as projects
2005; Cefis and Marsili, 2006; Marvel and Lumpkin, 2007). are especially suitable for generating innovation (Whittington
The investigation of the emergence of innovation is thereby et al., 1999; Bakker, 2010). This is generally attributed to the
of particular interest. Existing research has shown that innova- specific characteristics of temporary organizations (TOs) like
tion cannot be explained by higher-level factors alone (e.g., the the limited duration, uniqueness, ambiguous hierarchies, hetero-
strategy, organizational culture), but that a closer look on geneous team constellations and informal coordination mecha-
lower-levels factors such as an employee's affective behavior nisms (cf. Packendorff, 1995; Hobday, 2000; Bakker, 2010;
(e.g., personal motivation, commitment) and performance (e.g., Hanisch and Wald, 2014; Tyssen et al., 2014). Surprisingly,
a person's cognitive skills, task proficiency) are important empirical support for this assumption that goes beyond case-based
too (Scott and Bruce, 1994; Bunce and West, 1995; Mumford evidence is still scarce. As there is an increased tendency towards
organizing work in TOs (Aubry and Lenfle, 2012; Packendorff
and Lindgren, 2014; Wald et al., 2015), this issue becomes even
⁎ Corresponding author. more severe.
E-mail addresses: (T. Spanuth), The study at hand aims to close this gap in innovation and TO (A. Wald). research by empirically investigating how firms can unleash their
0263-7863/00/© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.
T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311 1303

employees' innovative work behavior (IWB) in the context of improvements to the introduction of radically new product
the TO. More precisely, we will explore whether the effect ideas. Thereby, the timing aspect plays an important role as
of performance-based development factors will be stronger in other firms might start to imitate those ideas while time passes
this respect than that of affective ones, or vice versa. Thereby, by. As imitation costs are in general much lower than inno-
we will focus on two individual factors, TO proficiency (TOP) vation costs, the sooner a firm places its innovation(s) on the
and TO commitment (TOC), as their permanent organization market, the more it may profit from it (cf. Lieberman and
(PO)-related counterparts were found to have a strong influence Montgomery, 1988). Moreover, innovation is a quite complex
on fostering IWB. Do to the fact that human resource (HR) and unique process, which requires a broad range of different
practices like reward management (RM) showed to enable expertise for a successful implementation (Abra, 1994). Prior
employees' IWB in permanent organizational settings (Dorenbosch research has also shown that high levels of formalization
et al., 2005; Abstein et al., 2014), we will explore whether this also negatively affect the generation of new ideas (Troy et al.,
applies to TOs. 2001), and more precisely that the strict compliance with orga-
We contribute to existing research in four ways. First, nizational rules and guidelines will most likely lead to routine,
we demonstrate how the characteristics of the TO will affect non-innovative (product or service) solutions (Moreno et al.,
the emergence of IWB at the individual-level. Thereby, we 2013).
consider two separate groups of antecedents – affective and Because of today's increased environmental dynamism and
performance-based. In addition, and in line with prior research uncertainty, a notable progress in research on IWB can be
in permanent organizational settings, particular attention is observed, especially with regard to its emergence (cf. Mumford
given to reward management as a relevant organizational et al., 2002; Anderson et al., 2004; Dörner, 2012). Surprisingly,
enabler for the effectiveness of such factors in fostering IWB. although being commonly agreed-upon by many scholars that
Second, as lower-level analysis can provide further explana- temporary forms of organizing are beneficial for generating
tions for a phenomenon's higher-level effects (cf. Coleman, innovation (Whittington et al., 1999; Bakker, 2010), empirical
1990; Abell et al., 2008), we simultaneously support ongoing research on the antecedents of IWB in the context of the TO is
research on IWB at the organizational-level. Third, by con- still scarce. As a consequence, scholars such as Anderson et al.
sidering the practical implications of our research, we are also (2004) are calling for more research on innovation processes
able to give guidance to project managers on how to adequately in the TO context. In a similar way, Eriksson (2014) claims
stimulate the aspired behavioral outcome of their project staff, a that a better understanding of how TOs are impacting the
task which is often found to be difficult in practice (especially emergence of dynamic capabilities (DCs), which comprises the
with regard to IWB; cf. Abstein et al., 2014). Lastly, by using a capability to innovate (cf. Wang and Ahmed, 2007), would be
broad, cross-sectional data set, we provide sufficient empirical of particular interest.
support to our investigation. Following these calls in the literature, we will proceed by
Our work proceeds as follows. In the next section, the taking a closer look on how an individual's organizational
theoretical background of our study and the underlying research commitment and task proficiency will influence the emergence of
model are presented. Thereafter, we will describe the research IWB in the TO. For example, a project worker can be willing to
design and methods. This will be followed by the presentation perform a certain task, but misses the adequate proficiency in
and discussion of the results. Finally, we will derive impli- terms of skills and qualification in order to do so (commitment
cations for theory and practice, show important limitations of but no proficiency). On the other hand, a project worker could
our study and highlight potential fields for future research. have the skills and qualification in order to perform a certain task,
but lacks the necessary motivation in order to do so (proficiency
2. Theoretical background and research model but no commitment). We chose these two factors for two reasons.
First, the PO-related counterparts were found to be among the
The term innovative work behavior describes an individual's most prevalent development factors in fostering IWB. Second,
ability within a role, a group or an entire organization to the characteristics of TOs (limited duration, uniqueness, ambig-
generate, to promote and to realize new ideas, products or the uous hierarchies, informal coordination mechanisms) are consid-
like (West and Farr, 1990; Janssen, 2000; de Jong and den ered to have a significant influence on those factors, which makes
Hartog, 2010). Since such a behavior typically exceeds the it interesting to investigate whether its known effects in POs
normal job and role expectations (Seibert et al., 2001), it is also apply to TOs. For example, project members are compared
often related to the so-called group of extra-role behaviors to their PO counterparts more likely to be exposed to high
(Katz, 1964; Katz and Kahn, 1966 & 78). By taking a closer levels of uncertainty, which again is found to negatively affect
look into the literature, one can find several other concepts that a person's job commitment (cf. Keegan and den Hartog, 2004;
are closely related to IWB (cf. Abstein et al., 2014) such as Hui and Lee, 2000).
employee innovativeness (West, 2002; Huhtala and Parzefall, In addition, we will explore whether the enabling role of
2007), innovative job performance (Janssen, 2001; Hammond reward management as an important HR practice on IWB also
et al., 2011) and on-the-job innovation (Dorenbosch et al., holds for TOs. Thereby, our research will not be limited to a single
2005), just to name a few. type of TO such as R&D projects. Instead, we consider a hetero-
According to Axtell et al. (2000), an individual's IWB can geneous set of various types of TOs which allows for a broader
range from the development of small incremental product generalization of the results (for further details, see Table 1).
1304 T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311

Table 1 2.2. TO proficiency and innovative work behavior

Descriptive statistics (TO focus).
TO type % TO duration % TO size % (Task) proficiency refers to the extent to which an employee
(months) (budget, EUR) meets his/her formalized job requirements (Griffin et al., 2007).
Organizational/HR a 6 b3 1 b50 k 10 As prior research on permanent organizations has shown,
IT b 31 3–6 16 50–100 k 7 employees' proficiency has in general a positive effect on their
R&D/NPD c 12 7–12 24 101–200 k 9
work motivation (e.g., Locke and Latham, 1990) as well as
Marketing & sales 2 13–24 32 201–500 k 17
Infrastructure 5 25–48 22 501–1000 k 14 their self-confidence (e.g., Dreher, 1982), which in turn are
Other 44 N48 5 N1000 k 43 found to be core enablers of innovation (Anderson et al., 2004).
No answer – No answer – No answer – TOs typically imply complex and non-routine tasks. Further,
Note: N = 583. they are often short in time and may be set up of highly
Human resources. heterogeneous team constellations (Tyssen et al., 2014). We
Information technology. therefore presume that TO members, compared to those in
Research & technology/new product development.
POs, are more challenged in their problem-solving activities,
and thus are required to be more proficient in order to meet
their preset, time-limited job requirements. With other words,
2.1. TO commitment and innovative work behavior TO members with a high level of TO proficiency (i.e., the
extent to which a TO participant reaches his/her predefined
Organizational commitment can be defined in general as job requirements) are likely to perform better than those with a
a psychological state that illustrates an employee's identifica- low level. As TOs are especially considered for the generation
tion with a specific organization (O'Reilly and Chatman, 1986; of innovation (Whittington et al., 1999; Bakker, 2010), we
Allen and Meyer, 1990; Mathieu and Zajac, 1990). Previous expect the following:
research on permanent organizations confirmed that committed
employees, especially those that were affectively attached to H2. TOP enhances an employee's IWB.
their surrounding organization (Meyer and Allen, 1991), are
more willing to tolerate occupational stress (Reilly and Orsak, 2.3. The joint effects of TO commitment and TO proficiency
1991; Fornes et al., 2008) and are less burnt out at work (Jamal,
1990). Moreover, it has also been shown that committed em- TO participants are in general high-skilled experts working
ployees tend to work harder and more goal-oriented (Wiener, together for a limited duration in time (Hanisch and Wald,
1982; Fornes et al., 2008). 2014). They usually depend on a superior line manager in the
TOs are increasingly integrated by POs to cope with non- PO rather than the respective TO head (Tyssen et al., 2014).
routine, complex tasks (Bechky, 2006; Hanisch and Wald, Furthermore, they are often not familiar with each other –
2014), which are often fairly unrelated to the PO's business neither on a personal nor on a professional level (Sydow et al.,
routines. The time to accomplish such tasks is limited, which 2004; Brockhoff, 2006; Tyssen et al., 2013). Becoming
implies that TOs are limited in their duration as well affectively committed to a specific TO setting seems therefore
(Maaninen-Olsson and Müllern, 2009). Beyond that, TOs are to be a time-consuming and long-lasting endeavor, which will
in general composed of groups of independently working certainly lower the resulting behavioral impact. TO partici-
experts with diverse professional and cultural backgrounds pants, on the other side, are typically involved in more than one
(Bechky, 2006; Cattani et al., 2011). Moreover, TOs are organizational setting at the same time (Hanisch and Wald,
supposed to exhibit fewer formal guidelines than POs and 2014). High levels of proficiency seem to be of particular
rely more on informal coordination (Bechky, 2006; Janowicz- help in this context. As TOs are by definition limited in their
Panjaitan et al., 2009). As a result, TOs are seen by many duration (Maaninen-Olsson and Müllern, 2009), this aspect
scholars as beneficial for achieving innovation (e.g., Bakker, becomes even more severe. We therefore assume the following
2010). However, the positive characteristics of TOs pose effect:
also certain psychological challenges. TO members are, com-
pared to their PO counterparts, often exposed to high levels of H3. In the context of the TO, the effect of TOP on IWB is
uncertainty, risk and ambiguity (Keegan and den Hartog, stronger than that of TOC.
2004). Therefore, they might become more easily stressed
or frustrated, which in turn (if not handled appropriately) 2.4. The moderating role of reward management in the context
will have a negative impact on their overall well-being and of the TO
quality of work (e.g., Maslach, 2003; Rothmann, 2008). Due
to that, it seems reasonable to assume that the level of a TO Reward management as one of the core HR practices
member's (affective) organizational commitment has a partic- (Abstein et al., 2014), is concerned with the strategic defi-
ularly strong influence on his/her work behavior. We thus nition, implementation and operation of the workforce's com-
hypothesize: pensation scheme (Armstrong and Murlis, 2004). As claimed
by many scholarly works (e.g., Conway and Monks, 2008;
H1. TOC positively affects an employee's IWB. Bustamam et al., 2014), a transparent and understandable reward
T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311 1305

management practice is positively related to workforce satisfac- Fig. 1 shows a comprehensive summary of our final research
tion. Likewise, Bowen and Schneider (1988) and Boon et al. model.
(2007) argue that reward practices can be used to stimulate and
guide a desired employee behavior.
3. Research design
TOs are often called into existence when a given task cannot
be effectively realized within the organization's permanent
3.1. Data collection and analysis
structure (Sydow et al., 2004). From a HR perspective, setting
up a TO-specific reward system (i.e., a reward system that
To empirically test the hypotheses (see Fig. 1), we decided
adequately incorporates the characteristics of TOs) is challeng-
to focus on TO professionals in Austria and Germany for two
ing as TOs are unique undertakings which may differ signif-
reasons. First, the various industry sectors of both countries
icantly in their size, complexity as well as duration (Brockhoff,
make a high use of temporary forms of organizing. A recent
2006; Hanisch and Wald, 2014; Tyssen et al., 2014). Hence,
study of Wald et al. (2015), for instance, shows that the share
setting up a TO-specific and transparent reward system across
of TOs in the entire German economy already reached up to a
the entire TO portfolio will be of certain difficulty. Moreover,
total of 34.7% in 2013, and is expected to even grow further in
TO participants are typically depending on their respective line
the upcoming years. Second, by focusing on two closely related
manager in the PO. In this case, the leader of a TO has only
countries we keep a potential influence of cultural factors to a
limited influence on TO members' promotions, rewards and the
like (Packendorff, 1995; Tyssen et al., 2013). An example for a
Finding and accessing the right set of contact persons is
TO-related reward system would be that of consulting firms
a central problem in all kinds of empirical studies, and even
where an employee's bonus is based on the project delivery
more in the context of temporary organizations. Due to that,
outcome as well as PO-related tasks such as recruiting support,
we decided to join collaboration with the two leading project
and product marketing activities.
management associations in Austria and Germany, Project
However, thus being rather seldom and difficult to set up,
Management Austria (PMA) and German Association for
we expect that a transparent and balanced reward management
Project Management (GPM), for conducting a survey on
system would have a similar effect in the context of the TO as
rewards systems and careers in projects. By using the respective
it has in the PO. On the one hand, TO participants are often
newsletter systems of both associations for distributing our
confronted with high levels of risk and uncertainty (Keegan
web-based questionnaire, we were thus able to reach out to
and den Hartog, 2004), where specific rewards would act as
N 8000 potential respondents. Within the questionnaire, the
an additional motivator. On the other hand, they typically
possible respondents were asked to evaluate the proposed
possess several hierarchical roles at the same time (Tyssen
questions on behalf of their last TO experience. In both, the
et al., 2014). It seems reasonable to assume that those roles
title and the introduction of the questionnaire, it was made clear
that are sufficiently rewarded are more likely to be handled first
that we talk about compensation and rewards in the context
and with more care than those which are not. We therefore
of the TO.
expect the following:
The data collection itself took part in between May and
H4. The extent of RM moderates the effects of TOC and TOP. July 2015. Beforehand, we extensively pre-tested the associated
questionnaire with a group of TO experts for assuring inter-
H4a. RM increases the positive effect of TOC on IWB.
subjective validity and reliability. Overall, we received a
H4b. RM increases the positive effect of TOP on IWB. total of 1724 responses. Of these, 583 (33.8%) were found

Antecedents Influencing Factor Phenomenon


Fig. 1. Research model.

1306 T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311

completed. In this sample, the average age of the participants be adequately modeled with covariance-based (CB) methods
was 40 years. Less than one-fifth (16.1%) were female. (Chin, 2010). Second, PLS-SEM has been particularly devel-
Further, 399 (68.4%) respondents came from Germany and oped as an exploratory-oriented approach to SEM, setting
184 (31.6%) from Austria. The respondents' TO-related work lower restrictions on data availability and specification of rela-
experience was on average 10 years, and ranged from a tionships compared to CB-SEM (Dijkstra, 2010; Reinartz et al.,
minimum of 0 to a maximum of 38 years. Likewise, N 84.0% 2009).
of the respondents were in a managing position (i.e., project
lead or higher). A detailed overview of all TO-related indicators
can further be found in Table 1. 3.2. Measures
Since we were using a single informant design (i.e., all
independent and dependent variables in the questionnaire are Variables such as TO commitment, TO proficiency and IWB
answered by the same person), there is a certain risk that a are in practice not directly measurable (latent). Therefore,
common method bias might decrease the construct validity measurable indicators are needed for an approximation. The
(Doty and Glick, 1988). In order to control for such an effect, measurement can be done either with reflective constructs
we therefore conducted a Harman's single factor test (Podsakoff where the direct manipulation of a particular indicator is not
et al., 2003). As no single factor emerged, we presume that expected to have a direct effect on the construct itself, or with
it is rather unlikely that our results are misled by a common formative constructs where changes in one or several indicators
method bias. Beyond that, we also tested for a potential non- are supposed to lead to a change on the construct level also
response bias in our dataset by dividing it in two separate (Coltman et al., 2008). For example, the latent variable TO
groups: Early respondents (group 1) and late respondents proficiency was measured as a reflective construct including of
(group 2). Then, we applied a Mann-Whitney U test (Mann three individual indicators (Griffin et al., 2007): 1. “I carried
and Whitney, 1947), where no significant differences between out the core parts of my job well”, 2. “I completed my core
the two datasets could be found. tasks well using the standard procedures”, and 3. “I ensured my
To simultaneously examine and test all of the latent tasks were completed successfully.”
variables and their hypothesized interrelationships, structural All variables used in this study were assessed based on
equation modeling (SEM) was applied (cf. Landsperger et al., previously established and validated scales which got further
2012; Sarstedt et al., 2014). Although covariance-based adapted to the TO context in wording (where necessary). For
methods are more common in SEM (Homburg et al., 2008), a measuring the scale items, a 7-point Likert scale was used,
variance-based method (PLS: Partial Least Squares) was used ranging from 1 (totally disagree) to 7 (totally agree). A com-
in this respect for two reasons. First, higher-order formative plete overview of all items applied in the survey can be found
constructs such as IWB (for further details, see Table 2) cannot in Table 2.

Table 2
First-order hierarchical measurement model results.
Construct level Item Loading Sig.
(λi) (t-value)
2nd-Order 1st-Order
Innovative work Problem recognition CR = 0.751; I often looked for opportunities to improve things 0.914 47.700
behavior a AVE = 0.610 I often paid attention to issues that were not part of my daily work 0.619 9.974
Idea generation CR = 0.902; I often searched for new working methods, techniques or instruments 0.798 35.461
AVE = 0.756 I often generated original solutions for problems 0.893 100.526
I often found new approaches to execute tasks 0.912 128.529
Idea championing CR = 0.938; I often made important TO members enthusiastic about my ideas 0.941 143.471
AVE = 0.883 I often convinced colleagues and supervisors about my ideas 0.937 123.972
Idea realization CR = 0.912; I often systematically introduced innovative ideas into work practices 0.900 106.709
AVE = 0.775 I often contributed to the implementation of new ideas 0.911 106.244
I often put effort in the development of new ideas 0.828 47.053
- Reward management a CR = 0.871; The criteria on which my compensation is based are clear and understandable 0.843 6.497
AVE = 0.694 My employer's TO-related remuneration structure is transparent 0.884 7.605
I think my compensation package is appropriate 0.768 5.719
- TO commitment a CR = 0.860; I believe in the value of this TO 0.862 47.557
AVE = 0.509 I think the management was making a mistake by introducing this TO (r.c.) 0.650 10.104
This TO was installed to serve an important purpose 0.766 24.065
Things would have been better without this TO (r.c.) 0.592 9.097
This TO was not necessary (r.c.) 0.661 10.075
I enjoyed working in this last TO 0.717 17.699
- TO proficiency a CR = 0.851; I carried out the core parts of my job well 0.899 80.498
AVE = 0.659 I completed my core tasks well using the standard procedures 0.694 13.898
I ensured my tasks were completed successfully 0.828 36.113
Note: N = 583; r.c. = reverse coded.
The respondent was asked to answer the proposed statements by thinking of the last completed TO (here: project case) he/she was involved in.
T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311 1307

| TO commitment: following the work of Tyssen et al. their AVE (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). Likewise, we could
(2014), which transferred Hersovitch and Meyer's (2002) also confirm the construct's predictive validity by means of a
prevalent commitment to change scale to the TO context, Stone-Geisser test (Geisser, 1974).
we operationalized TOC as a five-item long, reflective In a second step, we evaluated the quality of our second-
construct. order, formative construct IWB by checking for multi-
| Innovative work behavior: by taking a closer look into collinearity and indicator relevance (Chin, 2010). As the
the existing innovation and behavioral science literature, calculated variance inflation factor (VIF) reached a maximum
one can find several different approaches for conceptualiz- value of 2.258 (see Table 3), we showed that no multi-
ing the IWB construct. de Jong and den Hartog's (2010) collinearity should be present at the measurement model level
conceptualization of a four-dimensional construct (problem (Henseler et al., 2009). Further, all indicators' outer weights
recognition, idea generation, idea championing and idea exceeded the typical significance threshold of t N 1.96, except
realization) can, however, be seen as the most compre- for idea realization. Still, each weight surpassed the minimum
hensive version in this context. Due to that, we followed absolute threshold of 0.1 (Chin and Newsted, 1999).
Abstein et al. (2014) and measured IWB as a second-order,
formative construct, using their modified version of de Jong 4.2. Evaluation of the structural model
and den Hartog's (2010) original IWB scale.
| TO proficiency: using Griffin et al.'s (2007) construct of To check the appropriateness of our structural model, we
task proficiency as a basis, we operationalized TOP as a calculated all path coefficients, their respective significance
three-item long, reflective construct. levels and the endogenous construct's R2-value (see Fig. 2).
| Reward management: we conceptualized the reward man- Overall, the model and the data seem to fit, since the
agement practice as a reflective construct based on a slightly R2-value of IWB reaches a value of 0.23. Further, regarding
modified version of Abstein et al. (2014). the path coefficients and their respective significance levels,
we find empirical support for all our hypotheses except
To control for cross-sectional as well as socio-demographical those related to the moderating role of RM. More precisely,
effects, we additionally included a mix of TO-related (project H1 and H2 are supported as both employees' TOC (β = 0.23;
type and industry; cf. Hanisch and Wald, 2014) and respondent- p b 0.01) and TOP (β = 0.32; p b 0.01) positively affect their
specific (citizenship and gender) variables. IWB. In line with H3, we also revealed that the effect of
TOP on IWB is stronger than that of TOC. To test for the
4. Results significance and magnitude of the moderating effect of RM
(as claimed in H4), the PLS product indicator approach was
4.1. Evaluation of the measurement model conducted (Chin et al., 1996). Contrary to our proposition, the
perceived results do not confirm a significant effect of RM on
For determining the overall quality of the measurement the relationship between TOC and IWB (β = − 0.07; n.s.) as
model, we conducted a broad variety of statistical tests; for a well as TOC and IWB (β = − 0.04; n.s.). Hence, both H4a
detailed overview of our findings see Table 2. and H4b are rejected.
In a first step, we assessed our first-order constructs (TOC, Since the proposed control variables (gender, citizenship,
TOP and RM), which were all operationalized as reflective. project type and industry) did not show any significant effect,
First, we evaluated each construct's indicator loadings (cf. they were ex post excluded from our model.
Chin, 2010) and composite reliability (cf. Bagozzi and Yi,
1988). All values thereby exceeded the respective thresholds 5. Discussion and conclusion
(see Table 2). We then assessed each construct's convergent
validity by calculating its average variance extracted (AVE). Following two open calls for research (Anderson et al.,
According to Fornell and Larcker (1981). Convergent validity 2004; Eriksson, 2014), the aim of this study was to explore
can be assumed if each construct surpasses an AVE of 0.5, how the characteristics of the TO will affect the emergence
which is the case. Additionally, we could also find proof of IWB at the individual-level, and more precisely, whether
for the measurement model's discriminant validity since the affective organizational commitment and task proficiency are
construct's squared intercorrelations were all found lower than also influencing IWB in the context of the TO.

5.1. Theoretical contribution

Table 3
Second-order hierarchical measurement model results. Our study contributes to existing IWB and TO theory in
2nd-Order construct 1st-Order construct Weights Sig. (t-value) several ways.
Innovative work behavior Problem recognition 0.696 5.317 First, our results confirm the hypothesized positive effect of
VIF = 2.258 Idea generation − 0.318 2.716 TOC on IWB. This finding shows that the relevance of orga-
Idea championing 0.589 4.664 nizational commitment on behavioral outcomes (Vandenberghe
Idea realization 0.132 1.235 and Tremblay, 2008) is not restricted to permanent organiza-
Note: N = 583. tional settings alone. Further, it also extends the previous work
1308 T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311


Fig. 2. Structural model results.

of Tyssen et al. (2014), which investigated the effect of TOC line manager in the PO and not the respective TO manager
on project success, by transferring the exploration of TOC (Packendorff, 1995; Tyssen et al., 2013). Hence, the installment
benefits from the project-level to the individual- (respectively, of a RM practice in the PO is likely to have yet a much higher
behavioral-) level. A recent statement of Zhu (2013) further impact on TO participants' behavioral output than one in
underlines the relevance of this aspect by arguing that there is the TO would have. However, we do expect that this effect
an augmented interested in management research observable will change in the future as there is an augmented tendency
regarding the analysis and interpretation of employee behav- to organize work in TOs observable (Aubry and Lenfle,
ior. Finally, we are able to provide empirical insights to a 2012; Packendorff and Lindgren, 2014; Wald et al., 2015),
recent claim of Dwivedula et al. (2013), which states that which again will have a positive impact on the establishment
employee commitment has been well explored in organiza- of TO-related RM practices. With other words, the current
tional research, however only in permanent and not in tem- “authority gap” (Tyssen et al., 2014: 378) will gradually
porary organizational settings. decrease and TO participants will get more familiarized with
Second, we are able to show that POC positively enhances TO-related RM practices as time passes by. An alternative
IWB, and that the relation of POC on IWB is stronger than that explanation could be our focus on compensation. The gen-
of TOC on IWB. The first finding supports the outcome of eration of innovation is a creative task which requires an
previous works like that of Dreher (1982) which stresses the innovation-oriented organizational climate and mindset (Scott
importance of employees' proficiency for their self-confidence, and Bruce, 1994). Monetary aspects might be beneficial in this
a prevalent enabler of innovation (Anderson et al., 2004; context, but they are probably not the core prerequisite.
Dörner, 2012). Moreover, it also strengthens the assumption Finally, our results contribute to TO theory building by
that TO participants with a high level of TOP are likely to providing empirical evidence for the common held assumption
perform better than those with a low level. On the one hand, that TOs are especially suitable for generating innovation
TOs are by definition time-limited (Maaninen-Olsson and (Hobday, 2000; Maylor et al., 2006). At the same time, we
Müllern, 2009), which again requires a certain level of efficiency are able to address a claim made by Anderson et al. (2004)
regarding a successful execution. On the other hand, TOs are that empirical studies available in the field of innovation are
typically used in case of complex and non-routine tasks often composed of relatively small samples sizes, whose results
(e.g., Bechky, 2006; Hanisch and Wald, 2014). In order to cannot be simply generalized due to the implied bias.
solve these tasks, a certain competence will be needed. The
second finding which regards the joint effects of TOP and TOC 5.2. Practical implications
stresses the assumption that becoming affectively committed
to a specific TO setting takes time, which will likely lower From a practical perspective, our findings can help managers
the resulting behavioral impact. Likewise, it also gives empirical to get a better understanding on how to capitalize their
support to the idea that high levels of proficiency are of particular employees' innovative work behavior in the context of the
help in the TO. TO. In sum, there are three important aspects managers should
Third, contrary to our expectation, our results do not show pay special attention:
evidence for a significant role of RM regarding the afore- First, as both TOC and TOP were found to enhance IWB,
mentioned relationships. A possible explanation for this could TO managers should investigate more into practices that
be that TO participants are still used to the fact that their will help to improve their employees' emotional attachment
promotions and bonuses typically depend on their superior (respectively, proficiency) towards their temporary organization.
T. Spanuth, A. Wald / International Journal of Project Management 35 (2017) 1302–1311 1309

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