Early-career engineers’ perceptions of support for innovation at the workplace – what seems to matter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Stanford University
  • Technische Universität München


Previous research has shown the importance of contextual factors for increasing employee innovativeness, but to effectively support innovative behavior, we need to also understand what forms of support are perceived as meaningful by the employees themselves. The current study investigated the experiences of 35 early-career engineers in creating, championing and implementing new ideas at the workplace. They reported relatively few instances of support that had been experienced as helpful, and nearly all of these were related to either managerial or co-worker support. This support ranged from encouragement and positive feedback to tangible help in troubleshooting and finding resources, and, in the case of managers, providing sufficient autonomy and responsibility to enable the interviewees to pursue their ideas. Managerial support was most frequently reported by those working in self-described innovative positions, whereas co-worker support was more commonly reported by those working in self- described innovative environments. Formal processes and incentives were less likely to have been perceived as helpful than informal interactions with managers and co-workers.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED’19
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Engineering Design - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Aug 20198 Aug 2019
Conference number: 22

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Design Society : International Conference on Engineering Design
ISSN (Electronic)2220-4342


ConferenceInternational Conference on Engineering Design
Abbreviated titleICED
Internet address

    Research areas

  • innovation, support, project management, colleagues, training

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