The organization of work and innovative performance: a comparison of the EU-15
Arundel, A and Lorenz, E and Lundvall, B and Valeyre, A, The organization of work and innovative performance: a comparison of the EU-15, Blue Sky II Indicators Conference, 25 September 2007, Ottowa, Canada, pp. 1-36. (2007) [Refereed Conference Paper]
This paper explores the link between the organisation of work and innovation by
developing national aggregate indicators for the EU member states of organisational forms and innovation modes (how firms innovate). The organisational indicators are constructed from the Third European Survey of Working Conditions results for 8,081 salaried employees in 2000. The innovation mode indicators are calculated using the results of the third Community Innovation Survey (CIS-3) for innovation activities between 1998 and 2000. The analysis shows that in nations where work is organised to support high levels of discretion in solving complex problems fums tend to be more active in terms of endogenous innovation, i.e. innovation developed, at least to some degree, in house. In countries where learning and problem-solving on the job are more constrained, and little discretion is left to the employee, firms tend to engage in a supplier-dominated innovation strategy. Their technological renewal reflects, almost exclusively, absorption of innovations developed elsewhere. These results suggest that Emopean policy effOlts to improve innovation performance as part of the revised Lisbon strategy would benefit from organisational indicators that could be directly linked to innovation perfonnance. The bottleneck to improving the innovative capabilities of European firms might not be low levels of R&D, which are strongly determined by industty structures and difficult to change, but the widespread use of forms of work organisation that are unable to provide a fertile environment for innovation.