Special Issue on Workplace Innovation – Social Innovation: Shaping Work Organisation and Working Life

2016 – The World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development has published a Special Issue on Workplace Innovation edited by Jürgen Howaldt and Peter R.A. Oeij.

Pages 1-12: Workplace innovation and social innovation: an introduction
Jürgen Howaldt; Peter R.A. Oeij; Steven Dhondt; Ben Fruytier

This is the introduction to this special issue of World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development (WREMSD) dedicated to workplace innovation and social innovation related to work and organisation. As technological and business model innovations alone are not sufficient to enhance opportunities for businesses and employment, awareness is rising that better use should be made of human talents and new ways of organising and managing. In order to make working environments more receptive for innovation, and to enable people in organisations to take up an entrepreneurial role as intrapreneurs, a shift towards workplace innovation can be observed. Workplace innovation is complementary to technological and
business model innovation, and a necessary ingredient for successful renewal, in that it addresses a type of management that seeks collaboration with employees through dialogue and employee engagement. onsequently, not only improvements of the quality of work for employees become beckoning perspectives, improving the business is at hand as well through successful innovations in the organisation’s functioning, its culture of cooperation and leadership and the implementation of changes in the domain of HR-practices
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2016.073433

Pages 13-32: Workplace innovation: European policy and theoretical foundation
Frank Pot; Peter Totterdill; Steven Dhondt

Workplace innovation is gaining profile as an emerging European policy, creating organisational performance and quality jobs. DG GROW and DG EMPL are leading. Policies regarding work organisation and workplace
innovation in the EU over the last 20 years used to be rather fragmented, but more coherence is likely to develop in the near future. Besides social partners and government- and EU-officials a major role was played by European Networks of Applied Researchers. They provided the theories that are part of the foundation of such policies. The evidence for the positive effects of workplace innovation stimulated many entrepreneurs and managers to apply it. National programs appear to be helpful, in particular where coalitions of employers’ associations, trade unions, governments and research institutes exist. However, this is still a minority. More research is needed into the obstacles and the mechanism to promote implementation.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2016.073428

Pages 33-49: Green construction and team design. Low road and high road teams to build energy-friendly houses
Monique Ramioul; Jos Benders; Jan Van Peteghem

Two case studies were conducted to investigate how construction companies, focusing on the growing market of energy-friendly houses, design teamwork. The first company opts for a low-road type with high levels of control and standardisation as well as a focus on an operation-based production flow. The strategy of the second company, in contrast, can be characterized as a high-road type: it is an employee-centred organisation model based on participation, empowered teamwork and investments in skills of the workers.
The effects on the job quality of the construction workers in both companies are substantially different.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2016.073421

Pages 50-73: An alternative typology for teamwork
Paul-André Lapointe; Guy Cucumel

A new typology of teamwork, differentiating hierarchical from  democratic teams, is proposed. It is an effective way to study the impact of work teams on working conditions and the factors associated with their
prevalence. Democratic teams have better working conditions (greater autonomy and less work intensification and peer pressure), than hierarchical teams and employees working under Taylorism. Hierarchical team adoption is based on a logic of standardisation, labour cost reduction, and incentive pay
without job security guarantees, representation, or partnership. Conversely, democratic team adoption is based on job security guarantees, representation, and partnership, without managerial strategy to reduce labour costs and to use incentive pay. These findings are based on a survey conducted in the Québec
manufacturing sector.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2016.073431

Pages 74-100: Why job autonomy matters for young companies’ performance: company maturity as a moderator between job autonomy and company performance
Paul T.Y. Preenen; Peter R.A. Oeij; Steven Dhondt; Karolus O. Kraan; Emma Jansen

Although the positive impact of job autonomy has been widely shown for individual-level employee outcomes, research on job autonomy and company-level outcomes has been surprisingly scarce. Therefore, among
3,311 companies in the Netherlands, we investigate the relationship between employees’ job autonomy and company performance growth (revenue, profit). Moreover, we investigate the moderating effect of company maturity (young vs. older companies) in this relationship. Results indicate that job autonomy is positively related to growth of company revenue and this relationship is stronger for young companies. Job autonomy was positively related to company profit but only for young companies. These results suggest that it is
important for young companies especially, to provide their employees with job autonomy and its supporting practices. Implications for theory and practice will be discussed.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2016.073425
NB This article is summarized for this knowledge bank, see Preenen et al. 

Pages 101-129: Effect of workplace innovation on organisational performance and sickness absence
Peter R.A. Oeij; Fietje Vaas

Workplace innovation is an organisational capability, defined as a strategic renewal in organising and organisational behaviour. This capability may consist of four resources: strategic orientation, product-market
improvement, flexible work and organising smarter. Workplace innovation is theoretically rooted in the resource-based view of the firm. Analysis of the NEWS 2008 survey shows that Dutch organisations are ‘rather’ active with workplace innovation, with profit organisations being more active than
non-profit organisations. Social innovative organisations are mostly active with product-market improvement, while least with flexible work. Organisations being more active with workplace innovation more often report an improved organisational performance. Conversely, workplace innovation has no significant effect on sickness absence rates. The first conclusion is that the theoretical construct of workplace innovation is an appropriate measure for monitoring among organisations. The second conclusion is that the effect of
workplace innovation on organisational performance is strongest if organisations are active on more than one resource simultaneously. Interventions in flexible work and organising smarter are assumed to be most
promising, since these resources may realise a relatively substantial gain in the effect of organisational performance.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2016.073430

Jürgen Howaldt and Peter R.A. Oeij, (Editors)  ‘Special Issue on Workplace Innovation – Social Innovation: Shaping Work Organisation and Working Life’ World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 2016 Vol. 12 No 1. The whole issue can be bought via: https://www.inderscience.com/info/inarticletoc.php?jcode=wremsd&year=2016&vol=12&issue=1

The articles can be bought separately via the links given above.