A Multi-disciplinary Perspective
Edited by Faïz Gallouj and Faridah Djellal
Chapter 21: Innovation and Internationalization: A Dynamic Coupling for Business-to-Business Services
21 Innovation and internationalization: a dynamic coupling for business-tobusiness services Jean Philippe and Pierre-Yves Léo 21.1 Introduction This chapter proposes to study the connections between innovation in services and the internationalization of service firms. These two axes of development have always been considered separately. Bringing them together should enable us to understand better, from the conceptual and managerial point of view, the relationships which these two dynamics share. Service innovation obviously has consequences for the international development of service firms. But internationalization is also a powerful driver for service innovations and notably so in business-to-business services. Research on innovation in services has shown up the role of technical systems as a source of innovation, but also the importance of innovations in methods and organization (Gallouj, 2002, 2003). From a methodological perspective, these research works had to overcome analytical difficulties specific to services due to the immaterial nature of their production, to their interactivity and to the contribution of clients to the final outcome of the service delivery. These works identified several types of innovation: radical, improvement, incremental, ad hoc, recombination and formalization. Also faced with a great variety of forms, research on service internationalization used a quite similar approach. The first step was to describe the different types of internationalization: role and type of international networks; solutions adopted to master the difficulty to maintain highquality standards in different cultural environments; use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) replacing or simply supporting traditional networks; have all been highlighted, and so...
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