Measuring employee innovation: a review of existing scales and the development of the innovative behavior and innovation support inventories across cultures

Martin Lukes*, Ute Stephan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose - The paper develops a model of employee innovative behavior conceptualizing it as distinct from innovation outputs and as a multi-faceted behavior rather than a simple count of ‘innovative acts’ by employees. It understands individual employee innovative behaviors as a micro-foundation of firm intrapreneurship that is embedded in and influenced by contextual factors such as managerial, organizational and cultural support for innovation. Building from a review of existing employee innovative behavior scales and theoretical considerations we develop and validate the Innovative Behavior Inventory (IBI) and the Innovation Support Inventory (ISI).
Design/methodology/approach – Two pilot studies, a third validation study in the Czech Republic and a fourth cross-cultural validation study using population representative samples from Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic (n=2,812 employees and 450 entrepreneurs) were conducted.
Findings - Both inventories were reliable and showed factorial, criterion, convergent and discriminant validity as well as cross-cultural equivalence. Employee innovative behavior was supported as comprising of idea generation, idea search, idea communication, implementation starting activities, involving others and overcoming obstacles. Managerial support was the most proximal contextual influence on innovative behavior and mediated the effect of organizational support and national culture.
Originality/value - The paper advances our understanding of employee innovative behavior as a multi-faceted phenomenon and the contextual factors influencing it. Where past research typically focuses on convenience samples within a particular country, we offer first robust evidence that our model of employee innovative behavior generalizes across cultures and types of samples. Our model and the IBI and ISI inventories enable researchers to build a deeper understanding of the important micro-foundation underpinning intrapreneurial behavior in organizations and allow practitioners to identify their organizations’ strengths and weaknesses related to intrapreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-158
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2017


  • innovative work behaviour
  • cross-cultural
  • intrapreneurship
  • inventory
  • innovation support
  • validation


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