Paper on Skunkworks Digitalization accepted for presentation at the 10th Ratio Colloquium for Young Social Scientists

The paper “Skunkworks Digitalization: Does Empowerment Drive Unsanctioned Employee-Driven Grassroots Innovations?” co-authored by Arne Buchwald (EBS Business School Wiesbaden), Nils Urbach (University of Bayreuth) and Magnus Mähring (Stockholm School of Economics) has been accepted for presentation. It will be presented at the 10th Ratio Colloquium for Young Social Scientists which will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, from August 26 to 27, 2016. The aim of this colloquium is to bring together researchers in different fields working on the emergence, effects, diffusion, organizing, and strategic management of digitalization.

Abstract: Skunkworks, or un-official projects resulting from unsanctioned, bottom-up employee initiatives, is a phenomenon that can cause serious resource planning problems, such as when resources thought to be available have actually been spent on projects conducted under the radar. At the same time, such projects may also give rise to innovative ideas and solutions of potentially great benefit to organizations. In the context of digitalization, the innovative potential in bottom-up un-official activities becomes increasingly important for organizational innovation, yet little is known about why individual professionals engage in un-official projects. We draw on psychological empowerment and constructive deviance theory to explain such engagement, identifying factors fostering empowerment as well as factors moderating whether empowerment translates into un-official project activities.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Nils Urbach

Universität Bayreuth -