Dr Vijaya Venkataramari, Associate Professor, University of Maryland

Employees’ novel ideas often do not get recognised or valued by their managers, thus precluding these ideas from benefiting the organisation. Drawing on social-information-processing theory and the situated evaluation perspective, this paper investigates how managers’ social networks may play a role in influencing their valuation and implementation of novel employee ideas. In two studies—a field study (with managers evaluating multiple product ideas generated by employees in a ceramic company) and an experimental study—we first document how managers disfavour novelty and perceive novel ideas as having less value, thereby not investing in their further development and implementation. However, managers’ advice network diversity mitigated the negative effect of idea novelty on their perceived value of the proposed product ideas such that managers with more diverse networks were able to better appreciate the value of novel ideas. Further, our field results indicated that managers who saw the value in novel ideas were more likely to support the implementation of their ideas when they were central to the organisation’s managerial friendship network. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Speaker bio

Vijaya Venkataramani is an Associate Professor of Management & Organization at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She is a former Associate Editor at the Journal of Applied Psychology. Professor Venkataramani’s research focuses on creativity and innovation in organisations, especially understanding how informal social relationships and social networks at work enable employees’ ability to develop and implement creative ideas. Her recent research has focused on exploring why, although employees may have new ideas, these ideas often go unheard, unrecognised or even prematurely rejected by their managers, and how both employees and managers can address this. Her research has appeared in such journals as the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology and Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes.

Vijaya received her PhD in organisational behavior and human resources from Purdue University in 2008. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked in India as a human resources manager.

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Date: 16 February 2021
Start Time: 14:00
End Time: 15:30

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Open to: Members of the University of Cambridge

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Date: 16 February 2021
Start Time: 14:00
End Time: 15:30