Innovative Hr Practices: A Qualitative Research In Turkeys Businesses


Increasing of globalization, competition, technological, cultural and environmental changes make innovation necessary with regards to businesses. In this context, a business that internalizes innovation, gains flexibility against its competitors by adapting to change. Making an innovation a way of life, begin with belief for businesses. “The belief is the biggest weapon in the success of innovation”, as the French philosopher and writer Albert Camus stated that "your beliefs fall at times, and your weapon falls at times". The belief in innovation is nourished by the innovative practices of HR management. While these applications show employees how to arrive at the destination, employees also see their contribution to innovation as an individual. In this study, outputs of the innovative Human Resource (HR) practices were researched with qualitative method. The findings provide an important contribution to the literature from the point of view of HR practice outputs that performed with an innovative approach in Turkish businesses.

Keywords: InnovationHuman ResourceHuman Resource PracticesInnovative Human Resource Practices


21st. century competition conditions, businesses are forced to develop new products and services. Especially as the speed of change in technology increases and information technology develops, sharing of information rapidly motivates businesses to innovate. On the other hand, environmental changes (economic, socio-cultural etc.) reveal new areas of need. Therefore, product life cycles are getting shorter and businesses need to constantly renew their products (Demirci et al., 2014). Innovation for businesses is an important competitive tool. In a way, new products and processes to replace old ones, is much more important than price competition between existing business products (Akyos, 2006). While Innovative business has realized at least one innovation, an innovative product or process businesses perform a product or process innovation (Oslo Manuel, 2005). Employees of an innovative business have the opportunity to learn about diversity (internal and external), cooperation and strategies (Kaplan, 2011). According to Steve Jobs, who stated that innovation is "the human resource that is owned, how you are leading them and what you are getting with them", talented people are needed to succeed in innovation (Augustine, 2013). However, although human resources practices and innovation are related, the number of studies in the literature is low (Kılıç & Bilginoğlu, 2010). Research suggests that the quality of human resources depends on learning and innovative achievement (Dobson & Safarian, 2008). Therefore, for the innovative outputs, it is necessary for the innovative human resource needs to be determined. The purpose of the work in this context is to determine the output of businesses for innovative human resource practices. This study is important due to the acceleration of competition and change in technology, culture and economy. At this point businesses are faced with a dilemma like either surviving or disappearing. So businesses must be innovative to protect themselves from hard competition. Study is of original quality as measured by supplying innovative applications of practice in Turkey. It is the contribution of the literature to which these practices are valid. So in literature there has been a lot studies about HRM or innovation. But the study of the relationship between this two factors is few. In order to determine the innovative HRM applications which is used actively in Turkish businesses, qualitative research has been included.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework


Until the 1930s, the concept of innovation is rarely encountered. According to Austrian economist Joseph A. Schumpeter, who first mentioned the importance of this concept, innovation is the introduction of a new product for a consumer or a new product for a consumer (Schumpeter, 1934). According to Tushman and Nadler (1978), innovation is the creation of new products, processes and services for a business unit. Mogee and Schact (1980) focus on technology and innovate to create products, processes and applications to improve, make difference, add value or improve performance according to Brown, while expressing innovation as an industry creation, product or production improvement process (McAdam, Stevenson & Armstrong, 2000). According to Drucker, management should ask whether the products or services do not adequately meet the expectations of the consumers. Therefore, enterprises will develop efficient, profitable and competitive economies in which they operate. In this respect, innovation will create economic and social benefits (Elçi, 2007). According to Schumpeter (1934), who defined innovation as creative destruction (Top, 2008) takes place when a new technology, product, market or organizational practice forms an open alternative to existing products or organizational practices on the market. Therefore, creative destruction has an effect that contributes to economic growth, along with the change in the market, which at the same time disrupts the competition structure in the market (Larson, 2000).

Innovative Human Resource Practices

At the beginning of the 21st century, every product, production method or service related to innovation is increasingly linked to science and technology. Therefore, the main source of the innovation process has begun to form new ideas in the field of science and technology. In this context, the concept of the new economy expresses the economic necessity of thinking and acting due to high technological developments and the globalization of the world market and changing economic needs (Nakamura, 2002). In the new economy; businesses need to encourage reciprocal learning and information transfer in order to gain access to increased competitive pressures, to acquire new partners from outside or to participate in specific networks to complement their missing aspects. Such relationships allow businesses to break down risks and costs that may arise at the end of the innovation process, to gain access to new research results, to acquire new technologies, and to increase their activities in manufacturing-marketing-distribution areas (Aktan & Istiklal 2004). At this point human resources which is a positive effect on innovation are needed (Selvarajan, 2007).

Innovation and Human Resource Practices

Outputs of the innovative HR’s practices and these practices in the outstanding western countries whether are applied in Turkish businesses, are two problems of this research. According to Som’s (2006)’s research, innovative human resources practices that professional development, election and career development practices for future-oriented information workers, coaches and leaders, social networking strategic partnership, change agent and employee leadership roles, proactive management systems, tier reduction and management to increase organizational effectiveness. According to the researches innovative HR practices have a positive influence on innovation (Selvarajan, 2007). In a survey of twenty-two American manufacturing companies, training, referral initiation, team work, performance evaluation and empowerment were positively associated with innovation (Shipton et al., 2006).

Michie and Sheehan’s (2003) study, in the UK, the fact that businesses do not pay enough attention to team work influences innovation performance in the negative direction. However, Comelo-Ordaz, Fernández-Alles, & Valle-Cabrera (2008) concluded that financial awards for innovative ideas that teamwork alone did not improve innovation performance were also effective in research on ninety-seven Spanish businesses in the three most innovative sectors. As Innovative HR outputs of practices, the new suggestions in the idea phase are transformed into practices that contribute to the project by matured with project studies. Thus, all employees, individually or as a team, are in proposals dealing with all units and activities. The prototypes and final products produced are constantly being improved, according to customer expectations. In this process; sociologists have achieved excellent results with the analysis of these needs and expectations, the presentation of today's and future scenarios, and the completion of technological needs through practical research. The service sector is another area where innovations play an important role (Luecke, 2011). On behalf of the Starbucks culinary service innovation; shorten the service time and bring a rule of three minutes in all the branches. Not only does it increase customer satisfaction, but it also allows customers to build longer relationships (Karamehmet, 2012). Som (2006) has taken the role of division in research on sixty-nine Indian companies as an innovative practice of empowerment, vocational training and performance appraisal. Lonti and Verma (2003) have found that the flexible working system in research in Canada increases innovation. So education, rewarding, specialization, performance appraisal and career development are more innovative (Naranjo-Valenciaa, Jiménez-Jiménez & Sanz-Valle, 2016). In Turkey it is expected that many innovative businesses are using like these HR practices so the following hypothesis has been developed:

H1: Innovative HRM practices are used in Turkey.

Research Method

Sample and Data Collection

A simple coding method of Perkmann and Spicer (2014) was used, with open-ended interview to identify innovative human resource practices. Thirty-two managers were conducted who work in top 500 industrial business where located in Kocaeli but interview was made only fifteen of them.


In this study bricolage method was used. This coding method was used by Perkmann and Spicer (2014) to measure qualitative data in the study. Perkmann and Spicer (2014) use two types of data as archives and current records, and they categorize in three chapters: type of practice, type of enterprise, and views. In research, new businesses are formed by summarizing the positive and negative features of the structures by collaging method and by selecting the most suitable ones by examining the structure of many organizations and collecting opinions before forming organizational structures. This coding method uses two types of data as archive (six-year records) and current records. According to this, the first code is based on the views expressed by the competent authorities on the various forms of construction used by the business. The second and third code are divided into the opinions of the authorized persons about the applications used in the business. Then, by combining the common features of structure and applications with descriptive codes under the heading of descriptive codes, they combined the three codes into a summary. It ensures that more information about the topic, on the other hand cause and effect are clearly been visible (Kincheloe & Berry, 2004).


In the survey, interviewed businesses were classified in terms of their establishment dates, sectors, size, general strategies and business cultures, and in general, businesses' perspectives on innovativeness were elaborated by the HR interviewer using an open-ended question. Businesses (A123 ...) were asked open-ended questions about their approach to innovation and their answers were summarized. Then, in order to understand the current cultures of business, the views of HR managers are summarized. The reason for conducting the interview with the HR managers, the research oriented HR and also human resources management’s response to the question of how and by whom the functions of will be fulfilled in the business (Geylan & Fermani, 2001). Therefore, to learn innovative practices (U123 ...), open-ended questions were found by each business (A123 ...), resulting in ten responses, mostly applied (Table 01 ). The features that make business rotation an innovative application are opportunities for continuous improvement and experience in different cultures. Features that make reinforcement an innovative application; job satisfaction and participation increase the risk for new and original ideas. Features that make social responsibility an innovative practice; is to focus on the common goal that results from the fact that the business culture is based on "not me, but we think", which is a social responsibility project that brings different and quick solutions to the social life. The practice of the enterprises in practice and their general opinions are gathered and interviewed by the innovative firms, mostly applied by the ten HR as a summary idea, each of them is collected in one code (Table 02 ). Thus, applications have been made into more self-explanatory clues and the common point of each innovative application is summarized as descriptive code. innovative output positive or negative effects, HR from innovative applications coded, have been determined by using the opinions of the managers. These views are proof (Perkmann & Spicer, 2014), coded by brief definitions and indicate innovative effects (Table 02 ).

Table 1 -
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Table 2 -
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The concept of "individual" as an "individual", motivation, career planning, attracting talents, adopting innovation cultures, continuous communication, value creation, socialization, innovative communication, value creation, learning, innovative actors, awareness, experience, creativity and awareness, professional development, social sensitivity and collective respect affect the ınnovatıon positive, on the other hand foresight ability, limited knowledge transfer and acting on an ongoing initiative negatively affect ınnovative outputs (Table 02 ). The views of enterprises participating in the talks that these ten innovative practices will affect their innovative outputs are illustrated in the figure. The occupancy of these colours (A123 ...) in the circle supports innovation outputs (Figure 01 ).

Figure 1: Innovative HR Practices
Innovative HR Practices
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Figure 01 . shows innovative human resources practices and effect on firm innovation. Colours are showing that innovative human resource practices. Teamwork: Dark green, Education: Light green, Social responsibility: Dark blue, Coaching: Red, Performance based charging: Purple, Social activities: Light blue, Creativity: Bordeaux, Work rotation: Yellow, Suggestion systems: Orange, Strengthening: Navy blue. Accordingly, the practices within the circle are practices that influence the formation of innovative culture.

According to this; While thinking that businesses A1, A2, A3, A5, A7, A8, A9, A10, A15 are most "educated" in innovative Human Resources practices, they are effective in creating an innovation-focused culture; A1, A5, A6, A7, A11, A12, A14 operations, "teamwork"; A2, A3, A4, A7, A10, A11, "proposal systems"; A1, A3, A6, A7, A10, A12, A13, A15, "social activities"; A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A7, A8, A9, A11, A13, "performance based charging"; A1, A2, A4, A5, A7, A8, A11, A14, A15 establishments, "creativity"; A1, A2, A3, A5, A7, A9, A10 Enterprises A13, A14, "mentoring / coaching"; Businesses A1, A2, A3, A5, A7, A9, A11, A13, A14, "business rotation"; A2, A3, A5, A7, A8, A9, A11, A13, A14, A15, "strengthen"; Businesses A1, A2, A4, A7, A8, A11 believe that "social responsibility" has an impact. On the other hand, "prediction" of the proposal systems; the codes of "transfer of knowledge" from coaching practices and "acting on a continuous basis" from strengthening practices do not affect the formation of innovative culture, so innovation is outside the culture circle.

Conclusion and Discussion

In the 21st century, aggravated competition and accelerating technology, enterprises face with the choice to innovate or disappear. Those who are exposed to natural selection, those who are innovative, will continue to live; if they cannot adapt to newness, they will disappear. In this respect, the more H.R.M practices focus on innovation, the quicker the employee adaptation innovation process. Based on this assumption, the first question of the research is; determination of innovative H.R.M. practices. Semi-structured interviews were applied to identify the “innovative H.R.M. practices” in Turkey. The most common innovative practices are “training, teamwork, recommendation systems, social activities, performance-based remuneration, creativity in recruitment, mentoring/coaching, job rotation, empowerment and social responsibility" according to the Perkmann’s (2014) encoding method. Correlation was reached a positive and high rate among innovative H.R.M. applications. Except for “creativity”, “mentoring / coaching” and “job rotation”, there were close relationships among the other applications. According to results, collectivism and teams are important for innovation. The reason for empowerment is to be innovative: to increase organizational performance with increased competition, to give net flexibility to adapt to changing environmental conditions. In innovative businesses, a coach helps an employee to maximize their potential and help them reach agreed goals. Informal information sharing and network based information system are important for innovation. The features that make education practise be innovative are individual development based on innovative culture, participation based, preparation according to personal professional development plan, and increasing the value of information. Innovative intentional focus, present and future problems, rapid and efficient solution, interactive communication, which make team work innovative. It is the committees that make suggestion systems innovative, gather them quickly, use them in the right place and time, solve problems with different perspectives, and improve them. The features that make social activities innovative are the motivation increase and the employee interaction. Contributing to anticipated innovation, which makes paying performance innovative, makes maximum use of work capacity. Creativity innovative practices because it includes that innovation centering, talent programs, award management strategy and work capacity. Mentoring-coaching is an innovative practice that parallel to the development of the profession, the capture of change.

The study is original because in the literature, there are few studies about innovative HR practices with bricolage method. In this regard, research shows that widely implemented innovative practices and outputs in Turkey. From this perspective; innovative businesses in Turkey are trying to keep track of these practises from developed western businesses and their outputs. This study may be advanced in different countries and sectors.


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28 January 2019

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Pelenk, S. E. (2019). Innovative Hr Practices: A Qualitative Research In Turkeys Businesses. In M. Özşahin, & T. Hıdırlar (Eds.), New Challenges in Leadership and Technology Management, vol 54. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 787-799). Future Academy.