Job embeddedness and employee enactment of innovation-related work behaviours

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Manpower


Emerald Group Publishing Ltd


School of Business and Law




Coetzer, A., Inma, C., Poisat, P., Redmond, J., & STANDING, C. (2018). Job embeddedness and employee enactment of innovation-related work behaviours. International Journal of Manpower, 39(2), 222-239. doi:10.1108/IJM-04-2016-0095

Available here.



In a highly competitive globalised environment, the innovation behaviour of employees plays a key role in the economic viability and competitive advantage of organisations. In this context, developing the understanding of innovation work behaviour is important for the field of individual innovation and this is the focus of the study. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


Data were collected using a survey from 549 employees in organisations operating in four major business centres in South Africa.


On-the-job embeddedness was positively and significantly related to innovation behaviours by employees in organisations operating in diverse industries. Consistent with the view that small organisations have a “behavioural” innovation advantage over larger organisations, the size of the organisation moderated the positive relationship between on-the-job embeddedness and innovation behaviours. On-the-job embeddedness was more positively related to innovation behaviours in small organisations than in larger organisations.

Practical implications

Employees who are highly embedded in their jobs (but not necessarily their communities) are more likely to enact innovation behaviours than employees who are not similarly embedded. Human resource management professionals and line managers can potentially foster employee innovation behaviours through adopting strategies aimed at positively influencing the fit, links and sacrifice dimensions of on-the-job embeddedness.


The study contributes to theoretical and empirical expansion of job embeddedness (JE) by examining: how work and non-work forces that attach employees to their organisations influence their propensity to enact innovation behaviours; and how organisation size moderates the relationship between JE and innovation behaviours. The results will help managers who wish to foster innovation.



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