HRM as a catalyst for innovation in start-ups

Dorra Jebali, Viviana Meschitti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The study seeks to reduce the blurriness remaining around the value that HRM can bring to innovation in the specific context of start-ups, it advocates that the early adoption of appropriate HRM
practices, can act as a catalyst for innovation because they constitute a powerful means to systematically promote and facilitate employees’ innovative behaviours.
Design/methodology/approach – In the aim of complementing the existing quantitative work, this paper employs a multiple case study approach to explore the role of HRM in fostering employees’ innovative work
behaviour in four Tunisian tech companies.
Findings – The study found substantial support for the importance of establishing a work environment for learning where employees can build their innovative capacities by upgrading their knowledge and skills
through both formal and informal methods. Work autonomy and freedom are found to be essential parts of this environment. Workspace design that takes into account employees’ comfort and the collaborative nature of their work, also stands out as a major contributor to innovative work behaviour.
Originality/value – The adopted qualitative approach enabled a grasp of the less apparent aspects underpinning the HRM and innovation relationship in start-ups. “Ownership of space” is revealed as a key
element of the innovation-supportive work environment. By having a feeling of control on the workspace, employees can develop a sense of ownership towards the organisation which enhances their eagerness to exert innovation efforts. It also demonstrated that developing an overly creative workforce can turn into a source of stagnation which can be mitigated by cultivating “an environment for idea ownership”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-570
Number of pages16
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number2
Early online date22 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2021


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