Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Culture

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Culture

The Interaction between Technology, Progress and Economic Growth

Edited by Terrence E. Brown and Jan Ulijn

Any technological advance, innovation or economic growth created by an organization is dependent on how that organization’s culture and environment fosters or inhibits these developments. This process is further complicated by the global nature of economic activity and differences in national cultures due to country-specific histories, experiences, traditions and rules. The distinguished authors in this important new book aim to study the nature of organizational innovation and change by examining the complex interplay between entrepreneurship, innovation and culture.

Chapter 3: Knowledge management, institutions and professional cultures in engineering consulting services: the case of Hong Kong

Erik Baark

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


1 Erik Baark Although engineering consulting is a knowledge-intensive business service that has been practised for many years in advanced industrialized economies, its crucial function for innovation related to the built environment has received relatively little attention. Services have only recently become a prominent item on the agenda of innovation research, as scholars gradually seek to understand the differences and similarities between innovation in services and in manufacturing (Howells, 2000). The new interest in service innovation has led to the development of more sophisticated taxonomies of innovation patterns in various subsectors of services (Metcalfe and Miles, 2000). Technical and engineering consultancy is usually classified as highly innovative, belonging to a group of technology-based knowledge intensive business services that are concerned with the production and transfer of new knowledge (Roberts, Andersen and Hull, 2000). However, engineering consultants are often associated with the construction industry, a sector of the economy that has traditionally been regarded as very conservative, exhibiting a low rate of innovation. This image of construction as an innovative laggard has been reinforced by the low rate of explicit, formal research and development (R&D) activities and investment reported by firms in the sector. Expenditures on R&D in construction, measured on the basis of the activities undertaken by contractors and sub-suppliers, range from 0.01 per cent to 0.4 per cent of construction value-added for OECD countries, figures that are significantly lower than the 3–4 per cent of value-added spent on R&D in manufacturing (see...

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