Problem-solving, learning through experimentation, and organizational tenure: a moderated mediation model of idea generation

Empirical studies
By Nicola Cangialosi, Carlo Odoardi, Adalgisa Battistelli

Building on the work design for cognition perspective, the present study aimed at developing and testing a moderated mediation model of problem-solving, in which learning through experimentation serves as a mediating mechanism linking problem-solving with idea generation, and organizational tenure moderates the indirect relationship between problem-solving and idea generation via learning through experimentation. Results of a study of 212 workers from a manufacturing organization operating in central Italy offered support for the hypothesized model. Problem-solving was related to idea generation and learning through experimentation significantly mediated the association. In addition, organizational tenure interacted with problem-solving showing a stronger association for longer-tenured employees. This research sheds light on learning as a mechanism explaining the effects of job characteristics on creative/innovative outcomes and tenure as an intervening contextual feature. It also provides information on managerial practices to design jobs to maximize informal learning and employees’ generation of ideas.

  • idea generation
  • learning through experimentation
  • problem-solving
  • organizational tenure
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