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Micro-foundations of innovation: Employee silence, perceived time pressure, flow and innovative work behaviour

Saif Maqbool (FAST School of Management, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan)
Matej Černe (Department of Management and Organization, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Guido Bortoluzzi (DEAMS, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 27 July 2018

Issue publication date: 4 January 2019




The purpose of this paper is to extend current discussion on the drivers of innovative work behaviour (IWB) of individuals by connecting theories of flow (personal factor), employee silence (relational) and time pressure (contextual).


Data have been collected from employees of five companies based in Italy (n=608).


Silence is negatively related to IWB, whereas flow has the opposite association. Perceived time pressure moderates the relationship between employee silence and IWB. Furthermore, the findings indicate that the highest levels of IWB will take place when the flow level is high, individuals are absorbed in and enjoy their work, and the level of employee silence is low, enabling them to exchange ideas and obtain the necessary support and resources. At the same time, low levels of time pressure provide them with sufficient time for innovative processes to take place, ideas to be shared, and individuals to become engrossed in their innovations.

Research limitations/implications

Cross-sectional single-source data set.

Practical implications

Establishing a work context favourable for stimulating each employee’s active contribution towards IWB based on a complex interaction among flow, silence and time pressure.


Building on the theories of flow and the relational model of employee silence and combining their logic, the research not only delves into the two specific paths to IWB but also examines their multiple effects. Furthermore, the authors pin both factors (silence and flow) under the contextual influence of perceived time pressure, investigating how they simultaneously relate to IWB.



Maqbool, S., Černe, M. and Bortoluzzi, G. (2019), "Micro-foundations of innovation: Employee silence, perceived time pressure, flow and innovative work behaviour", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 125-145.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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