Knowledge intensive business services: ambiguities and continuities

Ian Douglas Miles (Research Laboratory for Economics of Innovations, Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia and Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Veronika Belousova (Department of Educational Programmes, Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)
Nikolay Chichkanov (Department for Methodology of Budget Planning, Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Publication date: 12 March 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The substantial growth in literature on knowledge-intensive business services (KIBSs) has thrown light on their contributions to innovation and innovation systems. This paper is the first of a set that examines major debates and conclusions to have emerged from this growing body of evidence.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a review essay, which also presents relevant statistics. It addresses definitional issues and controversies, and sets out basic trends and characteristics of the KIBS industries. The focus is mainly on KIBS firms, though the production of similar services in other types of organisation is also considered.

Findings

Many of the conclusions of an earlier (2005) review in this journal remain valid, though difficulties in capturing these activities in official statistics mean that there are many issues that demand closer inspection. Understanding the role and future prospects of KIBS will also require looking beyond the literature that focuses just on KIBS industries.

Research limitations/implications

This study involves literature review and statistical analysis. Future work would benefit from involvement of practitioners and users of KIBS.

Practical implications

More explicit consideration of KIBS in statistical frameworks is still required, and novel approaches to data conceptualisation and production should be explored.

Originality/value

The growing literature on KIBS, and its implications for understanding the roles and future development of the firms and their relationships to innovation systems, requires systematic analysis. Available statistics have been brought together, and this paper also reflects critically on the trajectories of research on these topics.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper was prepared based on research carried out as part of the Basic Research Programme of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE), and was supported by a state subsidy granted to the NRU HSE to help leading universities in the Russian Federation become more competitive global scientific research centres.

Citation

Miles, I.D., Belousova, V. and Chichkanov, N. (2018), "Knowledge intensive business services: ambiguities and continuities", Foresight, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-10-2017-0058

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.