Does kindness improve national innovation?

Backed by Yue Hin
Raised of $3,500 Goal
Ended on 6/13/17
Campaign Ended
  • $55
  • 2%
  • Finished
    on 6/13/17

About This Project

Prior research has shown that cultures or countries that are more "individualistic" are more innovative in terms of scientific and/or technological development (Hofstede and Bond 1988; Lee, Lee, and Souder 2000; Suzuki, Kim, and Bae 2002; Taylor and Wilson 2012). My research aims to extend this literature. I propose that humane orientation can also increase national innovation rates. "Humane orientation" is simply the academic lingo for "kindness" (House et al. 2004).

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What is the context of this research?

The possibility that cross-cultural forces shape differences in innovation has been explored in the literature on innovation. The predominant focus in this body of work has been on Hofstede’s cross-cultural dimensions (1991, 2001; Hofstede and Bond 1988). Another value that is important is humane orientation, which is basically about how kind people are to one another in a company or country (House et al. 2014). Might "humane orientation" improve innovation? Consider the following situation: you are in primary school, you ask a question in class, to which the teacher responds by saying that it was silly. This likely dampens your future likelihood of exploring the topic from different angles. In effect, this would dampen your motivation to be creative and innovative!

What is the significance of this project?

A country’s ability to innovate is often predicated on whether the society in which innovators live and work fosters the creativity and insight that move it forward. Without understanding what fosters creativity and what improves innovation rates, countries can not advance, and their citizens will also not improve their well-being. Thus, this research may seem to merely help companies make more money -- and to a certain extent, this is true. But we hope that the results of this research will have an impact on public policy. Indeed, innovation isn't just something that improves the profits of companies, but it can improve a country's global competitiveness, in turn improving the well-being of the individuals living within the country and around the world.

What are the goals of the project?

I already have national-level data using public indices and measures such as the World Values Survey suggesting that how "humane" a society is can predict national innovation rates. However, while this data is indicative, more research is needed, and more data needs to be collected. Thus, I am collecting funds on Experiment to help pay marketing/product managers to complete a survey in order to see whether how humane their company cultures are can predict how innovative they are. This would provide company-level support for my hypothesis. I also am collecting funds to run a small study on Mechanical Turk in order to shed light on the underlying mechanisms. I note that I intend to measure "humane orientation" using scales established by the GLOBE Project (


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The budget will help fund two aspects of this project. First, I will e-mail surveys to marketing and/or product managers from both small and big companies assessing how innovative they see their products to be, relative to the industry and competitors. Because they are managers, they need to be identified and properly incentivized -- they're not going to complete a survey and take up their time for free! I already have other funds to conduct a smaller-scale study to see if making people kind ("humane") towards each other can improve their creativity. Creativity is more local, and refers to how unique or original ideas are (Sternberg and Lubart 1999). Innovation is more macro-level and national (Van de Ven and Angle 1989). But, innovation requires individuals (or employees) to be creative. Thus, a smaller-scale experiment (to be conducted on Mechanical Turk) with non-managers can help me shed light on underlying psychological processes that explain creativity/innovation.

Endorsed by

I trust Eugene as he always conducts research on important topics and finds interesting and insightful results that are of help to the society and the economy.
The archetype of the aggressive and mean innovator is well known in history, from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs. Less known is whether emotional support and understanding are key to counter-act the negative feelings stemming from the uncertainty of a new venture. From my perspective of entrepreneur and lecturer in Innovation, this is a worthwhile research question to pursue. Eugene's genuine enthusiasm for research and strong track record will ensure this project translates in solid theoretical contributions and actionable insights.

Flag iconProject Timeline

I already have data from the World Values Survey to show some preliminary support for my hypotheses. I also plan on conducting two smaller scale studies (funded elsewhere). But for funds from Experiment, research data will be collected in two rounds. R1 is estimated to be done by August 1, 2017, while R2 is estimated to be finished by November 1, 2017. We hope to finish analyzing data before Christmas!

May 24, 2017

Data collection (from other funds).

May 30, 2017

Project Launched

Aug 01, 2017

Data collection to be completed, R1

Nov 01, 2017

Data collection to be completed, R2

Dec 25, 2017

Data analysis to be finished

Meet the Team

Eugene Chan
Eugene Chan
Senior Lecturer


Monash University
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Eugene Chan

I am a senior lecturer in marketing at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I received my Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Toronto, my M.A. in social psychology from the University of Chicago, and my A.B. in psychology from the University of Michigan.

I am a prolific researcher in marketing, and I use primarily experimental psychology methods to study consumer behaviour. My previously published work has been in financial decision-making (e.g., gambling, risks, investments), while my recent interests have been in understanding charitable giving -- why do people donate money/time? How do we increase these donations?

My research has been published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Evolution and Human Behavior, Computers in Human Behavior, European Journal of Marketing, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. My work has also been covered in the media including Men's Health, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

This research is being conducted within the Monash Business School at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Ethics approval has been received from Monash's ethics review committee.

Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 2%Funded
  • $55Total Donations
  • $27.50Average Donation
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