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Jagdip Singh, Detelina Marinova and Steven P. Brown

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Ozlem Ozkok, Jagdip Singh, Kwanghui Lim and Simon J. Bell

Competitive advantage through service innovation in customer-centric organizations often rests on its frontlines. On the frontlines, customer contact agents act as boundary spanners to contribute to a firm’s outside-in capability and they generate novel ideas for service innovation from customer interactions. Yet, past research has overlooked the central and critical role of organizational frontlines in service innovation. This chapter addresses this gap by (a) comparing customer-centric and operations-centric organizations to contrast key differences and draw implications for service innovation, (b) theorize frontline role characteristics that are prototypical features of customer-centric versus operations-centric organizations, and (c) theorizing a taxonomy of frontline networks that overlays frontline roles to provide a rich explanation of several key modes of service innovation. Together, we provide a theoretically grounded framework to guide future research and practice in fostering service innovation from the frontlines in customer-centric organizations.