Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning, Leadership and Change

First Advisor

Brett Taylor

First Committee Member

Fred Estes

Second Committee Member

Robert Brodnick


The inquiry concerned gaining insights into environmental elements needed within California public-sector organizations to increase employees’ willingness to share innovative ideas. Although research exists regarding the need for service innovation and employees as fruitful sources of innovative ideas, there have been limited studies concerning public-sector organizations and the best method to solicit employee ideas. The data collection for this qualitative research study consisted of a series of interviews with front-line, non-supervisory civil servants. The results provide insights and information on how public-sector organizations may foster a culture that promotes and encourages employee-led innovation. The themes that emerged were (a) transparency in the process of sharing ideas and what is needed to feel motivated to participate in a formal submission process; (b) recognition and follow up, including which types of follow up and recognition are needed to feel the idea submission was worth the effort; (c) safe space including what needs to be present within the process for employees to feel safe to participate; (d) organizational buy-in including the need for encouragement and demonstrated support from all levels of leadership. These themes contributed to form the following recommendations for organizations to create a process and culture for soliciting ideas from employees: (a) establishing a transparent and easy to use process; (b) utilizing trusted and unbiased evaluators to review ideas; (c) providing meaningful and specific follow-up on ideas submitted; (d) ensuring there is no public criticism of ideas, but having public praise for submitting ideas; creating an organizational culture to be promoting and supporting participation in these processes. The data analysis revealed several implications: a significant disconnect between what employees' need to be comfortable sharing ideas and the existing process; the insufficient efforts of current leaders to promote and execute innovation within their organizations; the need for a paradigm shift to embrace a culture and operations that support innovation at all levels of an organization.





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