Human Capital Drivers of Employee Intent to Innovate: The Case of Public Procurement Professionals

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Innovation is often promoted as the path to overcoming the burdens of bureaucratic organizations and fostering improved service to the public. In a moment where governments face dynamic administrative and policy challenges, there is great need for leveraging innovative ideas from public sector employees. What is less clear are which factors of employee human capital correlate with feeling encouraged to innovate. We test how three types of human capital influence innovation: organization level, industry specific, and individual specific human capital. We also explore whether there are differences in feeling encouraged to innovate linked to education, training, and demographics such as gender, race, and age. Using survey responses from 2,191 public procurement officers from various levels of government in the United States, we find human capital components including experience, and age correlate with feeling encouraged to innovate, though not always in expected ways.