The Handbook of Innovation and Services
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The Handbook of Innovation and Services

A Multi-disciplinary Perspective

Edited by Faïz Gallouj and Faridah Djellal

This Handbook brings together 49 international specialists to address an issue of increasing importance for the world’s post-industrial economies; innovation as it relates to services.
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Chapter 1: Towards a Theory of Innovation in Services: A State of the Art

Faïz Gallouj and Maria Savona


Faïz Gallouj and Maria Savona 1.1 Introduction This chapter reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on technological change and innovation in services. The survey covers the nature and role of technological change and innovation in service firms and sectors by reviewing the attempts to conceptualise them, the methodological issues related to their quantification, and the existing empirical evidence in this domain. Though the number of contributions has increased in recent years, the literature on innovation in services has always been more fragmented and less empirically grounded than the literature on innovation in the manufacturing sector. Thus, the task of tracing and systematising its evolution is not straightforward. This chapter outlines the main axes along which this literature has developed so far and provides some suggestions for its future development (see also Chapter 3 in this volume). Contributions to the service innovation literature can be divided into several groups depending on the approach adopted: (1) assimilation vs demarcation; (2) theoretical vs empirical; (3) typological vs analytical; and (4) demand-vs supply-oriented. 1.1.1 Assimilation vs demarcation In previous work (Gallouj, 1994, 1998; Gallouj and Gallouj, 1996; see also Gallouj and Weinstein, 1997), one of the authors of this chapter proposed a framework1 to systematise the literature on innovation in services. This literature has often been classified according to the extent to which the conceptualisation and quantification of innovation in services has borrowed from manufacturing-centred theoretical and methodological frameworks (assimilation or technologist approaches), which mainly consider innovation in services as resulting from technology...

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