Download the full-sized PDF of Conceptualizing Frontline Employee InnovationDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Conceptualizing Frontline Employee Innovation Open Access


Other title
Employee innovation
Workplace learning
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Lockwood, Alexis A
Supervisor and department
Kanuka, Heather (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Varnhagen, Connie (Psychology)
Stelmach, Bonnie (Educational Policy Studies)
Kanuka, Heather (Educational Policy Studies)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Adult, Community and Higher Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Education
Degree level
Public sector organizations are increasingly focusing on their own employees as sources of and drivers for innovation, yet lack an understanding of what innovation means from the perspective of employees themselves. To better understand and thus support employee innovation, this phenomenographical study explored the qualitatively different ways that frontline municipal government employees conceptualized employee innovation. Theoretically, the study was guided by sociocultural concepts of workplace learning that framed employee innovation as a function of everyday learning at work. Results of the study found that, from a frontline municipal government employee perspective, there are four varying ways of conceptualizing what employee innovation is: Thinking Small; Making Life Easier; Having High Expectations; and Going Above and Beyond. There are also four different ways of conceptualizing how employee innovation happens: by Working the System; Fostering Empathy and Collaboration; Making Do; and Connecting Dots. Three main conclusions are drawn from relating these employee conceptualizations to existing organizational development and workplace learning literature. First, the findings complicate conventional understandings of employee innovation. Second, the results affirm and build on ideas of employee innovation as a process of informal and situated workplace learning. Third, the study reinforces the need to intentionally and strategically support employee innovation in the workplace through expansive learning opportunities and initiatives.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 649233
Last modified: 2017:11:08 17:18:08-07:00
Filename: Lockwood_Alexis_A_201705_MEd.pdf
Original checksum: 503705bd8b5af3b4b4439f53474567b8
Well formed: false
Valid: false
Status message: Invalid page tree node offset=364997
Status message: Unexpected error in findFonts java.lang.ClassCastException: edu.harvard.hul.ois.jhove.module.pdf.PdfSimpleObject cannot be cast to edu.harvard.hul.ois.jhove.module.pdf.PdfDictionary offset=2970
Status message: Invalid outline dictionary item offset=601094
Page count: 75
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date