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Title: Service innovation implementation in international hotel groups : a critical realist study
Author: Papadaki, Akrivi-Angeliki
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6818
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2016
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Services have a dominant role in the world economy, with an increasing number of organisations adopting business models that incorporate product and service provision, in an effort to offer holistic customer experiences. Service innovation, as an avenue for growth, is becoming a major strategic focus in organisations worldwide. Service innovation research however, does not reflect the high level of interest in innovation shown by practitioners. There is a long tradition of product-related research that describes the conditions underlying service development in relation to products. However, evidence in the literature suggests that services are different from products and their features uniquely shape the innovation process. A significant research gap exists in the ways innovation projects are implemented in services. Existing studies fail to provide complete models of implementation that go beyond prescriptive step-by-step process manuals and to cover a variety of service industries that are as heterogeneous as products and services. This study attempts to fill these gaps by focussing on the implementation process in the under-studied service context of hotels, an industry that provides unique insights into the way interpersonal interactions shape implementation. Findings in this study derive from qualitative data collected from semi-structured interviews with managers and employees involved in two service innovation projects rolled out to European countries in 2011. Guided by a critical realist philosophy that perceives the world as mind-independent but accessible only through our subjective interpretations, the role of the researcher in this study was to approach innovation implementation by searching for valid explanations behind the participants’ experience. The study has found that the implementation process is an iterative process of planning, training, launch, review and routinisation, and follow-up periods. These are repeated as the implementation cascades through large organisations from the regional level to local organisational units. Secondary adoption and adaptation processes permeate implementation, whereby choices made at higher levels are evaluated at lower ones in a continuous cycle of decision-making. A variety of factors relating to the individuals involved, the firm where the innovation is implemented, the innovation concept, and the execution of the process have been linked to the realisation of the projects. Among these factors, knowledge, organisation of informal activities and the innovation-market fit have been shown to have the most significant positive influence on implementation. The events in the process have been explained by a combination of four mechanisms as diverse as sensemaking, organisational learning, organisational politics and emotional reactions to the implementation process. Thus, this research sheds new light on the theory and practice of service innovation implementation and paves the way for further research into the field.
Supervisor: Altinay, Levent ; Brookes, Maureen ; Saunders, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral