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The sources and aims of innovation in services: Variety between and within sectors


  • Bruce Tether


Services dominate economic activity, but remain under-researched by analysts of innovation and technological change. The early 'one size fits all' theories of innovation in services have in recent years given way to an appreciation that services are diverse, not least in their innovation activities. This paper draws on recent empirical evidence from large-scale surveys undertaken in 13 western European countries, to investigate the extent and the sources of innovation in five services sectors. The analysis includes the extent to which services innovate, and amongst innovators the extent to which they engage in R&D and collaborative arrangements for innovation. The analysis supports the recent literature which emphasises significant differences between sectors in their pattern of innovation behaviour, but also highlights significant intra-sectoral differences in innovation behaviour. This intra-sectoral variation deserves much fuller investigation in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Tether, 2003. "The sources and aims of innovation in services: Variety between and within sectors," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(6), pages 481-505.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:12:y:2003:i:6:p:481-505 DOI: 10.1080/1043859022000029221

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jon Sundbo & Faïz Gallouj, 1998. "Innovation as a loosely coupled system in services," Post-Print halshs-01113675, HAL.
    2. Gallouj, Faiz & Weinstein, Olivier, 1997. "Innovation in services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 537-556, December.
    3. Carlsson, Bo & Jacobsson, Staffan & Holmen, Magnus & Rickne, Annika, 2002. "Innovation systems: analytical and methodological issues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 233-245, February.
    4. Sirilli, Giorgio & Evangelista, Rinaldo, 1998. "Technological innovation in services and manufacturing: results from Italian surveys," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 881-899, December.
    5. Barras, Richard, 1993. "Interactive innovation in financial and business services: The vanguard of the service revolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 101-102, April.
    6. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 60-85, March.
    7. Tether, B. S., 1998. "Small and large firms: sources of unequal innovations?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 725-745, November.
    8. Tether, Bruce S., 2002. "Who co-operates for innovation, and why: An empirical analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 947-967, August.
    9. Tether, Bruce S. & Hipp, Christiane & Miles, Ian, 2001. "Standardisation and particularisation in services: evidence from Germany," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1115-1138, August.
    10. Faridah Djellal & Faïz Gallouj, 2000. "Innovation surveys for service industries: a review," Post-Print halshs-01113813, HAL.
    11. Rinaldo Evangelista, 2000. "Sectoral Patterns Of Technological Change In Services," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 183-222.
    12. Jean Gadrey & Faïz Gallouj, 1998. "The Provider-Customer Interface in Business and Professional Services," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 01-15, April.
    13. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-596, September.
    14. Barras, Richard, 1990. "Interactive innovation in financial and business services: The vanguard of the service revolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 215-237, June.
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    Services; Innovation; Technological Change; Europe;


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