European Journal of Workplace Innovation; Volume 1, Number 1, February 2015

2015 – The European Journal of Workplace Innovation (EJWI) is a new, open-access, net-based, peer reviewed and English-language journal. The Journal invites research-based empirical, theoretical or synoptic articles focusing on innovation and workplace development. The aim of the journal is:

  • To develop insights into workplace innovation

  • Provide case studies from Europe as well as comparative studies from other continents

  • Develop and present new theories in the field of workplace innovation

  • To increase international publication within the field

  • To become an important publication channel for workplace innovation researches as well as the international research community.

    This first volume (of which a pdf. is attached) has contributions of various colleagues with great experience of executing research and consulting organizations and institutions in practice. And they operate in different European countries. 

    Table of Contents

    Editorial: Why a European Journal of Workplace Innovation

       Øyvind Pålshaugen

    EJWI Vol. 1, No 1

       Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen

    Reshaping workplaces: Workplace innovation as designed by scientist and practitioners

       Steven Dhondt and Geert Van Hootegem

    Practical discourse and the notion of democratic dialogue

       Bjørn Gustavsen

    Two decades of programme-based promotion of workplace innovation in Finland: Past experiences and future challenges

       Tuomo Alasoini

    Closing the Gap: The Fifth Element and Workplace Innovation

       Peter Totterdill

      Workplace Innovation Forum: A section in the EJWI

         Richard Ennals


The article by Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen  with the title: EJWI Vol.1, No 1 is an overview of this first number of the journal. It is summarized below to give the KB visitor an impression.

The contributions to this issue of EJWI have in common that they try to define what workplace innovation is and should be, and link it to the history of workplace development and the workplace development discourse.

Starting from the work of F. Taylor, Dhondt argues for a workplace innovation concept that is broad, in the sense that it goes beyond micro sociological processes at the workplace. It is rather a concept that asks for a renewal of the understanding of work and workplaces. It should go beyond business concepts such as dynamic capabilities or organisational capital. It should take a new look at the socio-technical tradition.

Gustavsen takes the history of workplace development programmes in Scandinavia as a point of departure. He argues that democratic dialogue is needed in order to address the current challenges in work life. His argument is that dialogue is something beyond business model and concepts. Workplace development can only happen if real, reflective and open dialogue is possible.

Alasoini discusses the Finnish experience of promoting workplace development, and sees it in a European perspective. One can learn from these programmes that it is possible to promote a broad perspective on workplace innovation. These programmes have taken a system approach, argued for both work quality and productivity, promoted local learning, been based on co-operation between social partners, been supported by research, and linked to welfare objectives. However, the experience shows that it is difficult to succeed with this broad agenda. We have to learn more about how to make their ideas become useful in practice.

Totterdill makes a similar argument to the others, but argues in a different way. He uses the Fifth Element as an organising principle in his reflections. The point of departure is that there is a gap between what we know (in terms of workplace innovation research) and what we practice (in terms of what businesses report as their practice). The reason for this is that work design, quality of work, productivity, innovation, etc., are seen as separate things. The Fifth Element is thus a concept that argues for the need to create a dialogue at the workplace where managers, employees and researchers meet.

The four articles have in common that they argue for a very broad concept of workplace innovation, one that is able to communicate with a renewed thinking on business models and work at a societal level. They promote procedures rather than solutions and fixed models. They all seem to acknowledge that the challenges of work life are diverse and complex, and that we cannot diagnose future development. However, we can establish structures and procedures for co-operation, dialogue and openness to change, that will support innovation and democratic development.


The Journal can be down loaded via:
The file (pdf) of the full journal is attached.