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See detailEssays on the complex relationships between Innovation and Performance in service firms, with particular reference to financial services: An intellectual capital perspective
Mention, Anne-Laure ULg

Doctoral thesis (2012)

Service sector firms have long been neglected in innovation studies despite their increasing importance for economy. However, recent research has revealed that service firms do innovate although they ... [more ▼]

Service sector firms have long been neglected in innovation studies despite their increasing importance for economy. However, recent research has revealed that service firms do innovate although they follow distinct paths and reach different outcomes than those of the manufacturing sector. Measuring the effects of innovation on performance has thus become an essential concern for both policy‐makers and business leaders. This dissertation specifically contributes to the current debate on the effects of innovation on performance at firm‐level in the service sector by shedding more light on the characteristics of these complex relationships and by defining its underlying mechanisms. For these purposes, an intellectual capital perspective is adopted. This dissertation first takes a broad sector approach to services, focusing on potentially innovative core service activities, and relying on the concept of relational capital, it explores the most commonly reported feature of innovation in services, which is the openness of the innovation process. As prior research indicates that there is a diversity of innovation patterns in services, the dissertation then concentrates on financial service firms. Besides their own significance, financial firms play a critical role in the proper functioning of the entire economy. Focusing on this specific industry, the dissertation further delineates the innovation process into its constitutive elements, referring to human, structural and relational capital concepts. The setting for most of the empirical studies is Luxembourg, which allows benefitting from the peculiarities of this small, open, international but highly innovative economy dominated by service firms. This dissertation mainly concludes that adopting an open strategy for innovation activities brings differentiated results according to the partners involved, with some contrast observed between market, science and competitor co‐operation. When examining how resources mobilized in the innovation process interact to affect performance in financial services, the dominant role of relational capital emerges. Furthermore, the examination unveils the interaction effects between the constitutive elements of intellectual capital and confirms the importance of the orientation towards innovation, in its various facets, in financial firms. Overall, this dissertation shows that adopting an intellectual capital perspective to understand the innovation process, to reveal its main ingredients and to disentangle its effects on performance can be insightful. [less ▲]

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