Conceptualizing Frontline Employee Innovation

  • Author / Creator
    Lockwood, Alexis A
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2017-11:Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Policy Studies
  • Specialization
    • Adult, Community and Higher Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kanuka, Heather (Educational Policy Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Varnhagen, Connie (Psychology)
    • Kanuka, Heather (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Stelmach, Bonnie (Educational Policy Studies)