Rejecting Innovation: How Italian Public Employees are Killing Creativity and Digitalisation


  • Marco Berardi Department of Management and Business Administration, Università degli studi “G.d’Annunzio”, Pescara, Italy
  • Andrea Ziruolo
  • Fabrizia Fontana



innovation, creativity, knowledge management, public sector


Within the general context of new ideas generation, there is a grey area that still concerns the organizational design solutions related to creativity. In fact, if personal characteristics and other community-related issues have been quite explored, some organizational mechanisms still need to be deepened. In this paper, we aim to investigate the impact of professional networks on Innovative Work Behaviour in the local government to achieve public value. We investigate the contribution of creativity in the digitalization of Italian public administration considering the contribution of public employees to developing knowledge management. Moreover, we investigate a community of 190 employees of municipalities divided into three macro categories: deputy employees, Managers and Senior Managers. An OSL regression model has been used to understand to what extent the degree of collaboration and advice among employees and their propensity to adopt digitalization in ordinary practice considering social capital variables. What emerges from the OLS regression is that despite accelerating the ordinary work using the leverage of digitalization and knowledge management, there is the custom of not applying the enormous benefit of process re-engineering and continuing their work attitude in what the economic literature defines as “the comfort zone”. The results consolidate the current literature about the creation of public value showing the resilience of public employees to change their state of mind reflecting any kind of innovation.