The IUP Journal of Knowledge Management
Employee Learning and Enterprise Innovation Performance
in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Article Details
Pub. Date : Oct, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Knowledge Management
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJKM21910
Author Name : Edward Lorenz and Erika Kraemer-Mbula
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Management
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No. of Pages : 26

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Abstract

Worker skills and experience-based learning are fundamental and neglected dimensions of national innovation systems. This neglect reflects the tendency in innovation studies research to focus primarily on the role of formal R&D and the inputs of scientists and engineers with third-level education in explaining innovation performance at both the micro and macro levels. This perspective is poorly suited to investigate innovation activity in less developed countries and in particular in SMEs which often innovate without undertaking formal R&D. This paper focuses on the importance of Doing, Using and Interacting (DUI) mode of learning for innovation performance in less developed countries. It characterizes the nature of employee skills and experience-based learning in 11 low- and middle-income nations and explores their links with innovation activity by developing aggregate indicators at the national level. The indicators of experience-based learning are derived from the results of the surveys carried out through the World Bank’s STEP measurement program, the first ever effort to measure workplace skills in low and middle-income nations with large-scale representative datasets. The STEP surveys provide a unique resource for characterizing employees’ work activity in terms of such generic features as the degree of learning, problem-solving activity and the exercise of autonomy in daily work activity. The rates of innovation at the national level are derived from the results of the World Bank Enterprise Surveys carried out in the same 11 nations during the same period of time. The results point to systemic links between the nature and extent of employee learning on the one hand, and innovation performance on the other.


Description

Work organization and employees’ experience-based learning are fundamental and neglected dimensions of national innovation systems. This reflects the tendency in innovation studies research to focus mainly on the role of formal R&D and the inputs of scientists and engineers with third-level education in explaining innovation performance at both the micro- and macro-levels. This Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) perspective is at odds with a variety of empirical research based on the results of national innovation surveys, which shows that many enterprises, and in particular, a large number of micro- and small enterprises, introduce new products and processes without engaging in formal R&D (Rammer et al., 2009; Huang et al., 2010; and Hervas-Oliver et al., 2012).


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