Service innovation in business-to-business firms

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 11 October 2011



(2011), "Service innovation in business-to-business firms", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Service innovation in business-to-business firms

Article Type: Call for papers From:Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Volume 26, Issue 8

Submission deadline: 30 April 2012

The aim of this special issue is to understand more in detail service innovation in business-to-business and industrial contexts. Services dominate the world's established economies and are becoming increasingly important in developing economies. Service innovation is becoming vital not only for service firms but also for many product-centric organizations, particularly since product commoditization and low-cost competition make traditional product innovation insufficient to address the challenges of globalization and economic transformation.

Although service innovation has a catalytic role in shaping new markets and create new business opportunities, most B2B firms are still sticking to what is called the "invention model'', centered on structured, bricks-and-mortar product development processes and platforms (Ostrom et al., 2010). In business and industrial marketing, innovation research still tends to focus on products (e.g. Zablah et al., 2005;Hsu, 2011; Lettl and Gemünden, 2005; Munksgaard and Freytag, 2011).

Service innovation is not limited to the uniqueness or newness of the service, but it also encompasses newness in other characteristics of the service system (Gallouj and Weinstein, 1997), such as innovating the delivery processes, customer interfaces, and the seller-buyer relationship (de Jong and Vermeulen, 2003). For example, many times there is a need to extend the perspective and also look beyond the pilot launch to ensure successful sales and delivery of the new services and solutions (Kindström and Kowalkowski, 2009).

There are several other reasons why more research is needed on service innovation in B2B firms, of which are few are mentioned below. First, ICT is a major enabler for new B2B services and although service development is more or less synonymous with ICT development in many (non-IT) firms, its role in service innovation is insufficiently researched. Second, more and more B2B firms offer various forms of integrated solutions emphasizing value-in-use rather than merely products and single services. This requires firms to integrate and customize several service and product elements, which are marketed as bundles. Third, although services are generally produced locally in interaction with customers, in international firms, products and services tend to be developed centrally (Kowalkowski et al., 2011). Balancing the interests and needs of several organizational units can be a prerequisite for successful service innovation that may be easy in theory but very challenging in practice.

Papers from academics and practitioners in the service innovation field are sought. Papers that take an interdisciplinary perspective in understanding innovation and development of business-to-business services are encouraged. Contributions to this special issue should present new theories or research about service innovation in business-to- business and industrial contexts. All types of research paradigms including quantitative and qualitative analysis, case studies, conceptual, and empirical research are welcome. The following themes represent some topics which are of particular interest to the overall focus of the special issue:

  • Service innovation in manufacturing firms

  • Innovation in knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS)

  • The role of ICT in service innovation

  • Integrative product and service development

  • Service development practices, models, methodologies, tools, and techniques

  • Service innovation in networked environments

  • Coordination of development processes and projects across organizational functions

  • Innovation driven by external parties (e.g. customers, users, suppliers)

  • Implementation of new services, including sales and delivery

  • Service innovation typologies

  • Service innovation in transnational B2B firms

  • Contractual innovations (e.g. performance-based contracts, gain sharing)

Process for the submission of papers

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication with any other journal. Submissions should be approximately 6,000 words in length. Submissions to the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing must be made using the ScholarOne Manuscript Central system. For more details, please visit: and consult the author guidelines.

Please address questions about the special issue to the special issue Editors:

Dr Daniel Kindström, Associate ProfessorDepartment of Management and Engineering, Linköping University,Linköping, SwedenE-mail:

Dr Christian Kowalkowski, Associate ProfessorDepartment of Management and Engineering, Linköping University,Linköping, SwedenE-mail:


Gallouj, F. and Weinstein, O. (1997), "Innovation in services'', Research Policy,

Vol. 26 No. 4/5, pp. 537-56.

Hsu, Y. (2011), "Design innovation and marketing strategy in successful product competition'', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 223-36.

Jong, J.P.J. and Vermeulen, P.A.M. (2003), "Organizing successful new service development: a literature review'', Management Decision, Vol. 41 No. 9, pp. 844-58.

Kindström, D. and Kowalkowski, C. (2009), "Development of industrial service offerings – a process framework'', Journal of Service Management, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 156-72.

Kowalkowski, C., Kindström, D. and Brehmer, P.-O. (2011), "Managing industrial service offerings in global business markets'', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 181-92.

Lettl, C. and Gemünden, G. (2005), "The entrepreneurial role of innovative users'', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 20 No. 7, pp. 339-46.

Munksgaard, K.B. and Freytag, P.V. (2011), "Complementor involvement in product development'', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 4,

pp. 286-98.

Ostrom, A.L., Bitner, M.J., Brown, S.W., Burkhard, K.A., Goul, M.,

Smith-Daniels, V., Demirkan, H. and Rabinovich, E. (2010), "Moving forward and making a difference: research priorities for the science of service'', Journal of Service Research, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 4-36.

Zablah, A.R., Johnston, W.J. and Bellenger, D.N. (2005), "Transforming partner relationships through technological innovation'', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 20 No. 7, pp. 355-63.

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