Non-strategic, non-institutionalized actors as catalysts to innovation in the eTravel industry: analyzing eTravel's experts perspective on emerging sources of service innovations
Jouan de Kervenoael, Ronan and Enderlein, Cornelia (2013) Non-strategic, non-institutionalized actors as catalysts to innovation in the eTravel industry: analyzing eTravel's experts perspective on emerging sources of service innovations. In: Global Business and Technology Association's 15th Annual International Conference, Helsinki, Finland
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In a social media-driven world, the role and importance of external agents of change situated beyond organization management teams and consultants have the potential to radically alter innovation in the service sector. In contrast to most strategic management and marketing literature frameworks, in this study, following a firm’ perspective, we focus on the role of non-strategic, non-institutionalized actors -bloggers- as catalysts to market strategy change and service innovation. A series of in depth interviews with 26 eTravel industry experts (e.g. Expedia Inc., HRS GmbH and Thomas Cook AG) in Germany and the UK are analyzed via grounded theory. From a firm perspective, we map-out the current situation (definition, processes, and tools) of the emerging sources and challenges to service innovation in the travel sector (Aldebert et al, 2011). Results for the travel industry show, that altruistic information from bloggers significantly affect service innovation potential; however, this potential has yet to be realized in practice for most firms. Additionally, we identify first-hand informational experiences that challenge managers’ and marketers’ strategic inaccuracies and ambiguities when attempting to leverage an array of underrated, dispersed, and dynamic sets of novel information. This situation prevents the application of classical standards that measure management success and universal truth (strategic vision alignment with practice). In turn, these events are found to be shaping novel service innovation sources and processes including: (a) systems to understand, integrate, and articulate new unofficial knowledge, (b) power re-allocation within the firm, and (c) novel mechanisms to circulate and re-circulate dynamic information. These results suggest that a stronger pull effect is appearing, driven by non-strategic external agents, social media, and non-official information all of which challenge the conventional wisdom regarding the source of service innovation.
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