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Title: Innovative green employees: the drivers of corporate eco-innovation?

Authors: Marc Schmidt-Keilich; Anke Buhl; Elisabeth Süßbauer

Addresses: Economic Education and Sustainable Consumption, Institute for Vocational Education and Work Studies, Technische Universität Berlin, Sekr. MAR 1-1, Marchstr. 23, 10587 Berlin, Germany ' Department of Business Administration, Chair for Sustainable Organization and Work Design, Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences, Villestraße 3, 53347 Alfter, Germany ' Center for Technology and Society, Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 16-18, HBS 1, 10623 Berlin, German

Abstract: Previous studies have increasingly referred to the green employee as a promising resource for eco-innovation. However, as the concept was only vaguely defined until recently, empirical research is missing. Thus, this paper explores 'innovative green employees' and their potential for eco-innovation, based on interview data from four green German companies of a small to medium size. We find that such employees mainly contribute to corporate eco-innovation by generating and discussing pro-environmental ideas. In our sample, these ideas mainly revolve around fostering eco-friendly consumption at the workplace. Further, our results suggest that innovative green employees contribute to corporate greening by transforming the values and behaviours of colleagues as environmental role-models and opinion leaders. To this end, they draw on their environmental knowledge, professional and private networks, authenticity and credibility as well as on the dialogue culture present in their company.

Keywords: eco-innovation; employee innovation; green employee; environmental green behaviour; corporate greening.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISD.2023.127926

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2023 Vol.17 No.1/2, pp.182 - 204

Accepted: 16 May 2021
Published online: 22 Dec 2022 *

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