Routes for employee-driven innovation: how HRM supports the emergence of innovation in a formalized context

Maarten Renkema*, Jeroen G. Meijerink, Tanya Bondarouk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Although research has shown that HRM can contribute to innovation, only limited scholarly attention has been given to the bottom-up emergence of innovation based on an
employees’ ideas. Furthermore, while scholars have accumulated knowledge about innovative behavior in business contexts where innovation is nurtured, to fully understand
‘innovation by employees’ we need to also address business contexts where innovation by employees is not overtly expected. For these reasons, the aim of this paper is to
explore the bottom-up emergence of so-called employee-driven innovation (EDI) in a formalized business context and study how HRM support mechanisms contribute to this. We conducted an explorative single case study in a highly formalized company – a medical laboratory in the Netherlands. The data analysis was based on 40 interviews, documents, and observations. We found that a highly formalized business context does support innovation by employees, but that this has specific employee-driven innovation routes through which employees innovate. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the content and process of EDI emergence should be studied using a multilevel perspective. We offer recommendations on how EDI routes should be modelled and reflect on what this contributes to the HRM – innovation literature.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
JournalInternational journal of human resource management
Early online date22 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 22 Apr 2021

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