Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Dorthe Eide and Einar Lier Madsen
Chapter 2: The importance of systemic features for innovation orientation in tourism firms
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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