British Journal of Industrial Relations, 58(4) pp 904-935
Innovation is traditionally viewed as an activity which involves a small band of highly skilled workers. By examining the results of a British survey of employees, this article breaks with this approach. It makes two distinctive contributions. First, it provides new insights into the extent to which employees of all kinds come up with ideas about improving the work processes they use, the products they make and services they provide. Secondly, it examines the correlates of this behaviour. The results show that the strength of employee involvement, the nature of workplace support and development and performance management are strongly associated with employees’ willingness and ability to come up with innovative ideas. However, some of these features of work have declined in Britain in recent years, while economic outcomes often associated with innovation – such as increased productivity and stronger economic growth – have stalled.