Handbook of Service Business
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Handbook of Service Business

Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalisation

Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels

Service business accounts for more than 75 per cent of the wealth and employment created in most developed market economies. The management and economics of service business is based around selling expertise, knowledge and experiences. This Handbook contributes to on-going debates about the nature of service business and the characteristics of service-led economies by exploring disciplinary perspectives on services, services and core business processes and the management of service business. A series of case studies are also provided. The volume pushes back the frontiers of current critical thinking about the role of service business by bringing together eminent scholars from economics, management, sociology, public policy, planning and geography.
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Chapter 16: In pursuit of creative compliance: innovation in professional service firms

Timothy Morris, Michael Smets and Royston Greenwood


In this chapter, we discuss the nature of innovation in professional service firms. We argue that the distinctive characteristics of these firms affect their innovation drivers, sources, processes and outcomes. We suggest that, paradoxically, innovation in professional services is primarily driven by a pursuit of compliance, rather than differentiation. Professionals are typically required to resolve situations in which their clients aim to comply with external constraints, but seek to do so in a creative way that is least compromising for their business goals. Thus, innovation in professional service firms is primarily driven by creative compliance.

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