A mapping study of employee innovation: proposing a research agenda

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33 Citations (SciVal)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to systematically explore the current understanding of the role of non-R&D and non-managerial employees in different phases and types of innovation, and to propose avenues for future research. Design/methodology/approach: By conducting a mapping study and applying a critical discourse analysis, the phenomenon of “ordinary” employee innovation is explored across various fields, such as human resource management, psychology, economics, strategy, marketing and technology management. Proposals for future research are suggested based on the theoretical framework of dynamic capability, with the aim of further integrating employee innovation in the innovation management domain. Findings: The findings illuminate five main themes that form the employee innovation discourse across various academic disciplines, namely, employee innovative work behavior, firm innovation performance, employee innovation processes, frontline service employees and management tools for employee innovation. Originality/value: Unlike prior studies in the field of innovation management, this study specifically focuses on the employees without innovation-specific functions in organizations, or “ordinary” employees. Concerning the methodological lens of critical discourse analysis, the authors suggest forming the employee innovation discourse in an inclusive manner. Based on the theoretical lens of dynamic capability, a research agenda is proposed in which employee innovation research makes additional use of innovation processes and types, and takes into account the interactive processes and strong empirical evidence for relevant management tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-492
JournalEuropean Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number3
Early online date2019 Jan 1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics


  • Dynamic capability
  • Employee innovation
  • Employee innovative behaviour
  • Innovation management
  • Innovation performance
  • Innovation process


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