Service Innovation and Engaged Organisational Knowing in Knowledge-Intensive Business Services: Indonesian Case Studies

  • Mirta Amalia

Student thesis: Unknown


Recent innovation research has paid more attention to investigating innovation in KIBS. The KIBS sector is widely reported to be more innovative than most other services. However, many past studies in this area have focused on R&D when analysing service innovation in KIBS. While some KIBS (typically those classified as Technological-KIBS or T-KIBS) do made substantial investment in R&D, this is however much less the case in many other KIBS (especially in Professional-KIBS/P-KIBS and Creative-KIBS/C-KIBS). This implies that other activities -apart from conventional R&D- may be applicable to understanding service innovation in KIBS. Knowledge management approaches have been introduced in several previous studies of service innovation in KIBS - but these typically see 'knowledge' as an object or property. This study argues for, and develops, an alternative 'knowing' perspective, which viewing knowledge as embedded in practice. This approach is underpinned by the interactivity and knowledge-intensity characteristics of KIBS. Their services are typically solutions to specific client problems. Knowledge is thus context-dependent and much relevant knowledge is learned in the very local context of practice.This theoretical standpoint is applied in this qualitative research study, exploring the role of knowing in service innovation in KIBS. In so doing, we employ four data sources (i.e. in-depth semi-structured interviews, expert interviews, observation and archival data) and apply the techniques of template analysis to the rich qualitative data that has been generated. We then delve into three analytical exercises. First, we depart from the current theories of service innovation, framing the exploration in the light of the concepts of service innovation dimensions and dynamic capabilities (introduced in the literature review). Second, we analyse what forms of knowing are involved in the process of service innovation. Third, we synthesise the first two analytical exercises to probe on the interrelation between service innovation and knowing in KIBS - what roles do forms of knowing play in service innovation?One major finding of this research is that service innovation and managing knowing in KIBS are interrelated by the fact that knowing is seen as enacted capability, forms of knowing are constituted in the process of service innovation, and this requires particular capabilities. We identify four ways of knowing in which KIBS engage for service innovation. Here, we incorporate the knowledge relatedness factor and the strategic focus to knowing (i.e. exploration or exploitation). These aspects enable this research to put forth the argument that the more the members of KIBS enact their knowing in practice, the better understanding they have towards the practice, the firm and the environment. Such ultimately becomes important for the sustainability of KIBS, not only to meet current market demands, but also to be able to construct new frameworks and thus to influence market development.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Miles (Supervisor) & Yanuar Nugroho (Supervisor)


  • service innovation, knowledge-intensive business services, organisational knowing, KIBS

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