Handbook of Research on Innovation in Tourism Industries

Handbook of Research on Innovation in Tourism Industries

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Dorthe Eide and Einar Lier Madsen

The tourism sector – already one of the fastest growing industries in the world – is currently undergoing extensive change thanks to strong market growth and a transition to more experience-based products. The capacity for firms to innovate and adapt to market developments is crucial to their success, but research-based knowledge on innovation strategies in tourism remains scarce. This pioneering Handbook offers timely, original research on innovation within the tourism industry from a number of interdisciplinary and global perspectives.

Chapter 2: The importance of systemic features for innovation orientation in tourism firms

Martin Rønningen and Gudbrand Lien

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, development studies, tourism, environment, research methods in the environment, geography, human geography, tourism


Interest in innovation research has surged in recent decades. However, for some time, innovation researchers have primarily examined innovation in manufacturing industries, and particularly in technology-intensive businesses (Gallouj & Djellal, 2010; Miles, 2005; Sundbo & Gallouj, 2000). Nevertheless, in the last decade, academic interest in investigating innovation processes in the service industry has increased significantly. While tourism, as a service industry, has received at least some of this newfound attention, relatively little is still known about the innovation processes taking place in this particular industry (Hjalager, 2010; Ronningen, 2010a). This feature calls for more, particularly quantitative, examinations of innovation in tourism. A recent Norwegian survey conducted in 2008 and reported by Ronningen (2009) has shed some light on the innovative capacity of the tourism industry. This survey demonstrated that many (actually about 83 per cent of) tourism firms had implemented some type of innovation (Ronningen, 2009). The survey used almost the same measurement for innovation as did the Community Innovation Survey (CIS), and thereby distinguished between product, process, organizational, and marketing innovation. Based on the analysis combined with the literature dealing with service innovation, the researchers involved with the tourism innovation survey questioned the appropriateness of differentiating between the four types of innovation in the CIS. This question well reflects the debate on the understanding and measurement of service innovation (Gallouj & Savona, 2010; Gallouj & Weinstein, 1997; Tether, 2005).

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