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Organization of Knowledge and Innovation: The Case of Finnish Business Services


  • Aija Leiponen


This empirical study examines knowledge creation activities in business service firms. Using survey data of 167 Finnish knowledge-intensive business service firms, I explore hypotheses about the organization of learning and innovation. Results from an exploratory factor analysis combined with regression analyses suggest that, first, collective application of knowledge is more likely to lead to significant improvements in services than individual application of knowledge. Second, external sourcing of knowledge, particularly from customers and competitors, is more conducive to new service introductions than local and incremental learning on the job. Broad information sourcing and internal cooperation to mobilize knowledge thus support the renewal of knowledge-intensive business services. More significant service innovations are also supported by highly educated employees, but the role of R&D investments is not significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Aija Leiponen, 2005. "Organization of Knowledge and Innovation: The Case of Finnish Business Services," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 185-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:12:y:2005:i:2:p:185-203 DOI: 10.1080/13662710500087925

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Block, Jörn H. & Fisch, Christian O. & Hahn, Alexander & Sandner, Philipp G., 2015. "Why do SMEs file trademarks? Insights from firms in innovative industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1915-1930.
    2. José A. Camacho & Mercedes Rodriguez, 2010. "How Important are Knowledge-Intensive Services for their Client Industries? An Assessment of their Impact on Productivity and Innovation," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Innovation and Services, chapter 18 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Love, James H. & Ganotakis, Panagiotis, 2013. "Learning by exporting: Lessons from high-technology SMEs," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-17.
    4. Niine, Tarvo & Kolbre, Ene & Miina, Aleksandr, 2017. "Enablers and constraints of peripheral air cargo – A case study of Estonia," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 106-114.
    5. Kushlin, Valery Ivanovich & Ustenko, V.S., 2016. "Analysis of International Experience of Intensification of Scientific and Innovative Activity in the Modern Unstable Conditions," Working Papers 2832, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    6. Gregor Weber & Ruxandra Maria Mateescu & Steffen Lange & Manfred Rauch, 2016. "Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) in the Context of Changing Energy Economics in Germany," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 18(41), pages 1-89, February.
    7. repec:eee:techno:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:35-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. A. Lasagni, 2011. "European SMEs, external relationships and innovation: some empirical evidence," Economics Department Working Papers 2011-EP04, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    9. Leiponen, Aija & Byma, Justin, 2009. "If you cannot block, you better run: Small firms, cooperative innovation, and appropriation strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1478-1488, November.
    10. Maja Savic & Helen Lawton Smith & Ioannis Bournakis, 2014. "The effect of external knowledge sources and their geography on innovation in Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) SMEs; some Implications for de-industrialised regions in the UK," Working Papers 18, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Aug 2014.
    11. Pilar Arroyo López & Lourdes Cárcamo Solís, 2009. "El desarrollo de KIBS en México El sector servicios en el contexto de la economía del conocimiento," Economia y Sociedad., Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Facultad de Economia, issue 23, pages 65-78, Enero-Jun.
    12. Thomä Jörg & Zimmermann Volker, 2013. "Knowledge Protection Practices in Innovating SMEs," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 233(5-6), pages 691-717, October.
    13. repec:wsi:ijimxx:v:21:y:2017:i:01:n:s1363919617500037 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Zuher Al-Omari & Osama Al-Shaki & Mohd Ahmad & Elsadig Ahmed, 2014. "Knowledge Growth Measurement and Formulation for Enhancing Organizational Knowledge Capital," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 5(3), pages 616-632, September.
    15. Forsman, Helena, 2011. "Innovation capacity and innovation development in small enterprises. A comparison between the manufacturing and service sectors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 739-750, June.
    16. Mina, Andrea & Bascavusoglu-Moreau, Elif & Hughes, Alan, 2014. "Open service innovation and the firm's search for external knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 853-866.
    17. Trigo, Alexandre & Vence, Xavier, 2012. "Scope and patterns of innovation cooperation in Spanish service enterprises," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 602-613.
    18. Bas, M. & Paunov, C., 2014. "The unequal effect of India's industrial liberalization on firms' decision to innovate: Do business conditions matter?," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    19. James H. Love & Stephen Roper & Priit Vahter, 2014. "Learning from openness: The dynamics of breadth in external innovation linkages," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(11), pages 1703-1716, November.
    20. Jenny Meyer, 2010. "Does Social Software Support Service Innovation?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 289-311.
    21. Jeremy Howells, 2010. "Services and Innovation and Service Innovation: New Theoretical Directions," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Innovation and Services, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.


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