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Innovation at the workplace: Do professional competencies matter?


  • Vila, Luis E.
  • Pérez, Pedro J.
  • Coll-Serrano, Vicente


This paper analyzes individuals' propensity to innovate in professional environments, by focusing on the specific competency profile of individuals who play a role in the incorporation of product, technological, and knowledge innovations at work. The analysis draws on economic and managerial literature on innovation, innovative behavior, and competencies to gain a better understanding of the relationships between the process of competency development and innovative behavior in working environments. Using data from REFLEX, a European survey on the transition from higher education to labor markets, the empirical component of this study estimates discrete response models to explain the propensity of individuals to innovate at work. The models take the responses to a set of 19 questionnaire items as the basis for determining individuals' competency profiles, while also incorporating firm, working environment, and personal characteristics. The estimation results provide evidence of significant marginal effects of specific competencies on the probability that individuals act as innovators at the workplace. Competencies such as alertness to new opportunities, ability to present products, ideas or reports, ability to mobilize the capacities of others, ability to come up with new ideas and solutions, and ability to use computers and the Internet appear to have stronger marginal effects on the likelihood of innovating and, consequently, emerge as key competencies in explaining the propensity of individuals to become innovators in their working environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Vila, Luis E. & Pérez, Pedro J. & Coll-Serrano, Vicente, 2014. "Innovation at the workplace: Do professional competencies matter?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(5), pages 752-757.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:67:y:2014:i:5:p:752-757
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2013.11.039

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert E. Lucas, 2009. "Ideas and Growth," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(301), pages 1-19, February.
    2. Filippo Belloc, 2012. "Corporate Governance And Innovation: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 835-864, December.
    3. Chen, Chung-Jen & Huang, Jing-Wen, 2009. "Strategic human resource practices and innovation performance -- The mediating role of knowledge management capacity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 104-114, January.
    4. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carmen Delia Davila Quintana & José-Ginés Mora & Pedro Jose Perez Vazquez & Luis Eduardo Vila Lladosa, 2016. "La cooperación universidad-empresa, instrumento para mejorar las competencias de los egresados," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 11, in: José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 11, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 13, pages 265-282, Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    2. Chris C. Gernreich, 2018. "What Employees Really Want: Demands For Individual Idea Development," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 22(08), pages 1-28, December.
    3. Curado, Carla & Muñoz-Pascual, Lucía & Galende, Jesús, 2018. "Antecedents to innovation performance in SMEs: A mixed methods approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 206-215.
    4. Blázquez, Maite & Herrarte, Ainhoa & Llorente-Heras, Raquel, 2018. "Competencies, occupational status, and earnings among European university graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 16-34.
    5. Lucía Muñoz-Pascual & Jesús Galende & Carla Curado, 2019. "Human Resource Management Contributions to Knowledge Sharing for a Sustainability-Oriented Performance: A Mixed Methods Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, December.
    6. Taran Thune & Pål Børing, 2015. "Industry PhD Schemes: Developing Innovation Competencies in Firms?," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 6(2), pages 385-401, June.


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