ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (6): 801-810.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00801

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles    

Where there's a will, there's a way: Intrinsic motivational orientation, idea quality, and idea implementation

DONG Niannian1, WANG Xueli2()   

  1. 1 Donlinks School of Economics and Management, University of Science & Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
    2 School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • Received:2019-04-25 Published:2020-06-25 Online:2020-04-22
  • Contact: Xueli WANG


The innovation process can be conceptualized as encompassing two stages: idea generation and idea implementation. However, to date, more early research has been focused on the idea generation stage, and these two subfields still remain stubbornly disconnected from one another. To integrate these two disparate subfields and advance our comprehensive understanding of the innovation process, the current study relied on self-determination theory and Yale attitude change approach to examine the effect of intrinsic motivational orientation of idea generators on idea quality, and further tested the effect of idea quality, rewards of the idea generators, and their interaction on idea implementation.

To test the hypotheses in the proposed model, we collected data from 251 idea generators, 7 idea evaluators and the manager of an innovative proposal project at 3 different time points in a large financial company. In the first wave, 440 ideas proposed by 440 idea generators were recorded. In the second wave, all of the idea generators were invited to complete a questionnaire, including demographic information and intrinsic motivational orientation, and the number of valid questionnaires was 251; moreover, 7 in-house experts assessed the idea generators and the quality of each idea. Approximately six months later, the manager of this project reported the implementation degree of all of the ideas. Our hypotheses were examined using SPSS 22.0.

By analyzing the multi-time and multi-source data, it was found in this study that: (1) intrinsic motivational orientation of the idea generators has a significantly positive effect on idea quality; (2) idea quality further facilitates idea implementation; (3) rewards of the idea generators positively influence idea implementation; and (4) idea quality and rewards of the idea generators interact to predict idea implementation.

The findings presented here contribute to innovation literature in the following ways. First, this study tracks the innovation process from idea generation to idea implementation, bridging the theoretical divide between creativity research and idea implementation research. Second, this study clarifies the positive effect of intrinsic motivational orientation on idea quality, which is a beneficial supplement to, and promotion of the existing research on the relationship between intrinsic motivation and creativity. Third, Yale attitude change theory is introduced into idea implementation research, which not only expands the application scope of this theory, but also enriches theoretical perspectives of idea implementation research.

Key words: intrinsic motivational orientation, idea quality, idea implementation, rewards

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