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Initiating service encounter-based innovation by word-of-business

Jan Mattsson (Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark AND School of Business, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




This paper aims to set up a natural experiment as action research and to develop a framework of cognitive distance of informants to improve the initiation of service encounter-based innovation.


Natural experiment as action research in one Scandinavian case company is used. This paper includes a longitudinal study over 10 month’s duration.


An organisational support system and an improved front-office innovation climate were set up which generated a new system for information gleaning. A framework of cognitive distance was induced from transcriptions of interviews and transcriptions.

Research limitations/implications

Only one Scandinavian company and a limited number of informants were activated. Also, the time period only included the initiation phase of service encounter-based innovation.

Practical implications

Three different strategies are suggested to respond to different types of word-of-business.

Social implications

Cognitive distance is a generic concept which relates to all human interaction and communication. It can explain why it is so difficult to “get things across”.


This paper presents a new theory in an emerging innovation field, open/user-driven innovation. Theory from business marketing, service encounter and innovation is also used.



Mattsson, J. (2015), "Initiating service encounter-based innovation by word-of-business", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 880-888.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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