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How leaders influence employees' innovative behaviour

Jeroen P.J. de Jong (EIM Small Business Research and Consultancy, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands)
Deanne N. Den Hartog (University of Amsterdam Business School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 30 January 2007




To provide an inventory of leader behaviours likely to enhance employees' innovative behaviour, including idea generation and application behaviour.


Based on a combination of literature research and in‐depth interviews, the paper explores leadership behaviours that stimulate employees' idea generation and application behaviour. The study was carried out in knowledge‐intensive service firms (e.g. consultants, researchers, engineers).


It was found that there were 13 relevant leadership behaviours. Although innovative behaviour is crucial in such firms, it has received very little attention from researchers. Leaders influence employees' innovative behaviour both through their deliberate actions aiming to stimulate idea generation and application as well as by their more general, daily behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

Future quantitative research could condense our overview of leader practices, explore which practices are most relevant to employees' idea generation and/or application behaviour, which contingency factors influence the leadership‐innovative behaviour connection and provide information as to whether different practices are relevant in other types of firms.


Neither the innovation nor the leadership field provides a detailed overview of specific behaviours that leaders might use to stimulate innovation by individual employees. This paper fills that void.



de Jong, J.P.J. and Den Hartog, D.N. (2007), "How leaders influence employees' innovative behaviour", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 41-64.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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