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Employees as User Innovators: An Empirical Investigation of an Idea Management System

38 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2012 Last revised: 26 Jul 2013

Leid Zejnilovic

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Engineering and Public Policy; CATOLICA - LISBON School of Business and Economics; Technical University of Lisbon (UTL) - IN+ Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research

Pedro Oliveira

Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics

Francisco M. Veloso

Carnegie Mellon University - Engineering and Public Policy (EPP); CATOLICA - LISBON School of Business and Economics

Date Written: June 11, 2012

Abstract

While the user-innovation literature has considered firms as potential user-innovators, little is known about the individual contributions by employees of producer-firms, who innovate to address their own specific needs within their firm, and which we refer to as employee-users. We investigate the innovation proposals made by employee-user to an idea management system and theorize that their proposals are more likely to challenge existing processes and structures when compared with other employee proposals. We contend that employee-user proposals are more likely than other proposals to be turned into the firm’s broader practice, regardless of their level of development. Furthermore, we find that the origin of the proposals is a better predictor of the likelihood of adoption than their level of development. We also find that employee-users contribute beyond continuous process improvement initiatives with proposals for new products and services. We discuss the implications for theory and practice and suggest ways for companies to increase the success rate of the ideas submitted by the broad base of employees to idea management systems and to bring more radical ideas to these systems. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to bridge the idea management and user innovation literatures and to directly examine broader contribution of employees as potential user-innovators, introducing the term employee-user innovations to emphasize conceptual difference from other types of user-innovators.

Keywords: idea management systems, employee involvement, employee-user innovation, innovation management

JEL Classification: O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Zejnilovic, Leid and Oliveira, Pedro and Veloso, Francisco M., Employees as User Innovators: An Empirical Investigation of an Idea Management System (June 11, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2083422 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2083422

Leid Zejnilovic (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Engineering and Public Policy ( email )

Baker Hall 129
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

CATOLICA - LISBON School of Business and Economics ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

Technical University of Lisbon (UTL) - IN+ Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research ( email )

Av. Rovisco Pais
Lisbon, 1049-001
Portugal

Pedro Oliveira

Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

Francisco M. Veloso

Carnegie Mellon University - Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~fveloso/

CATOLICA - LISBON School of Business and Economics ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

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