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Innovation and labour flexibility: A Spanish study of differences across industries and type of innovation


  • Angel Martínez-Sánchez
  • María José Vela-Jiménez
  • Manuela Pérez-Pérez
  • Pilar de Luis-Carnicer


Purpose - This paper aims to analyze the relationship between labour flexibility and innovation performance. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is a review of theoretical perspectives to analyze this relationship. A postal survey of a sample of Spanish manufacturing and service firms was conducted and this was subject to nonparametric analysis. Findings - High-innovative Spanish firms are more flexible than low-innovative firms although the comparison across industries and type of innovation indicates that not all flexibility dimensions are statistically significant in their relationship to innovation performance. Research limitations/implications - The study's single country setting could limit the generalizability of the findings. Longitudinal as opposed to cross-sectional data are needed for studying the causal assumptions suggested by this research. Practical implications - Given the differences of flexibility dimensions found across industries and type of innovation firms should use flexibility capabilities to complement innovation capabilities. On the other hand, some flexible managerial practices should be adopted as early as possible because they appear to be global in knowledge-intensive firms and do not have differences across sectors and type of innovation. Originality/value - This paper combines in the same analysis the relationship of internal and external flexibility with innovation performance, and their managerial implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Angel Martínez-Sánchez & María José Vela-Jiménez & Manuela Pérez-Pérez & Pilar de Luis-Carnicer, 2009. "Innovation and labour flexibility: A Spanish study of differences across industries and type of innovation," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 360-376, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:4:p:360-376

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