Empowering leadership for employee participation in open innovation activities
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This research investigated how empowering leadership behaviour influences employees to participate in open innovation activities. The participation of employees in open innovation activities is the first important step to move from traditional models of innovation to the open innovation model. In this qualitative study, in total, ten employees and managers of a large Dutch manufacturer of integrated solutions for textile, label and industrial markets have been interviewed. The interview question focused on open innovation activities. Why did employees participate in open innovation activities, and how did they perceive the role of their direct supervisor? Findings suggest that employees are influenced to participate in open innovation activities by empowering leadership behaviour. Simultaneously, findings suggest that empowering leadership behaviour stimulates a learning culture and creates an employee climate of involvement that indirectly influences employees to participate in open innovation activities. Besides, empirical data suggest that contextual factors are of great importance to bring about empowering leadership behaviour. Furthermore, contextual factors seem of importance for employee participation in open innovation activities. Contextual factors such as a shortage of resources, needlessly time-consuming procedures and a lack of mutual understanding may hinder employee participation in open innovation activities. This study contributes to the open innovation literature in the field of leadership. It provides several insights and recommendations on empowering leadership behaviour for employee participation in open innovation activities.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen