- Higher education is faced with ever-increasing challenges, which require fundamental changes in order to ensure its relevance in the future. Business leaders and academic scholars urge organizations to continuously reshape and renew through learning and innovation to assure viability and sustainability. Organizational climate serves as a foundation that can promote or hinder innovation. Consequently, an organizational climate that encourages innovation is paramount to get community colleges through challenging times and ensure their relevance and value in meeting the needs of the 21st century complex society.
The purpose of the study was to assess perceptions of full-time faculty members about organizational climate for innovation in community colleges in Oregon and to determine if there is any difference in perceptions based on individual demographic factors or organizational characteristics. The secondary purpose was to gather feedback related to enhancements that community colleges can pursue to improve organizational climate for innovation.
A web-based questionnaire was developed using items from other instruments that measured organizational climate for innovation with the constructs of leadership, support for creativity, norms for diversity and risk-taking, continuous development, ownership, and
resources. There are 17 community colleges in Oregon; of these, 13 community colleges participated in the study. A total of 219 full-time community college faculty members participated in the study, which was (16%) of the total population of full-time community college faculty in Oregon Quantitative analysis included general description of respondent characteristics and descriptive findings; Cronbach's coefficient alpha to test instrumentation constructs and reliability; confirmatory factor analysis of the instrument confirmed the constructs. Investigation of assumptions related to the inferential analyses and factorial ANOVA was used to test the hypotheses. Qualitative research method was used to analyze qualitative data related to enhancement of an organizational climate for innovation.
The study findings revealed that the organizational climate for innovation based on faculty members' perceptions was average and below average on the measurement along six selected constructs. There were no significant differences in responses of faculty based on the demographic factors (age, gender, educational level, area of teaching, experience in the profession, experience at community colleges, and experience at current community college) and an organizational size. Faculty members provided several recommendations on how to enhance an organizational climate for innovation, which were in line with the six constructs, the existing scholarly literature, and best business practices.
While the body of research pertinent to organizational climate perceptions, culture, and innovation is growing, limited research is available on the topic of an organizational climate for innovation in post-secondary education. This study encompassed a broader approach of an assessment and information gathering from most of the colleges in one state, the state of Oregon. Therefore, this research is significant as it added to and enriched the existing and growing body
of constructed scholarly knowledge. Most importantly, the results of this research provided Oregon community college leaders in administrative positions with an assessment of current organizational climate for innovation based on faculty members' perceptions. Therefore, community college leaders are armed with pivotal information that can assist them in shaping organizations’ future directions and set up their colleges for innovation.