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 22: Developing the agenda for research on knowledge-intensive services: problems and opportunities

John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels


The most serious theoretical deficiency of existing theories of modern society which assign a central role to knowledge is . . . their rather undifferentiated treatment of the key ingredient, namely knowledge itself. (Stehr, 1994: 91) During the 1980s the transformation in employment away from manufacturing to service occupations encouraged economic geographers to explore the locational dynamics of the evolving ‘new service economy’ (Marshall, 1983; Daniels, 1985; Wood, 1986; Daniels et al., 2011). Business or producer service firms – those service activities which typically supply other business units with ‘high order’ knowledge and expertise (e.g., market intelligence, management advice, design) – were identified as one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors in the advanced capitalist economies (Keeble et al., 1991; MacPherson, 1997). The logical extension of this work was to explore the dynamics of specific types of business service activities. Attention focussed on ‘knowledge-intensive services’ in the belief that they had the most to contribute to the wider production process (Marshall et al., 1988).

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