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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Ian Douglas Miles, Veronika Belousova and Nikolay Chichkanov

The substantial growth in literature on knowledge-intensive business services (KIBSs) has thrown light on their contributions to innovation and innovation systems. This…

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.

Details

foresight, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2011

Rajshekhar (Raj) G. Javalgi, Andrew C. Gross, W. Benoy Joseph and Elad Granot

The dramatic growth and international scope of knowledge‐intensive business services (KIBS) are evident in emerging markets such as China and India. Nations, like firms…

Abstract

Purpose

The dramatic growth and international scope of knowledge‐intensive business services (KIBS) are evident in emerging markets such as China and India. Nations, like firms, seek to capitalize on their available resources and capabilities (e.g. people, technology, skills) in order to build and maintain core competencies in certain industry sectors. This paper has the following objectives: to discuss the classification of KIBS, to marshal conceptual and statistical evidence on KIBS in major emerging markets, to compare and contrast selected major emerging markets in regard to their KIBS activities, and to discuss policy implications.

Design/methodology/approach

In this conceptual paper, extant literature is reviewed and discussed pertaining to the KIBS sectors. Several existing data sources are used to assess the comparative performance of major emerging markets in the KIBS sectors.

Findings

The emphasis is on finding comparative longitudinal statistics that are useful for comparison and contrast among major emerging markets. The analysis indicates that while the major emerging markets are building competitive advantage by focusing on knowledge‐intensive business services, their progress differs sharply. For example, China shows the lead, followed by India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, and Indonesia. Smaller nations lag behind these in most indicators. It is evident that leading major emerging nations have not reached parity with highly industrialized countries.

Research limitations/implications

The results show ranking and contribution of various major nations in the global knowledge economy, but additional time series and analysis are needed to assess comparative rankings. However, the classification and the indicators illustrated here offer a panoramic, comparative picture over the past decade. Using international business theories, research can develop statistical models to explain foreign market entry strategies of knowledge‐intensive service firms.

Practical implications

The paper is of value to managers considering entry and/or expansion into major emerging markets in various sub‐sectors of knowledge‐intensive sectors. The specific industry and function pursued by a firm need to be identified and matched up with host nation characteristics (e.g. more software design and pharmaceutical research in India v. more manufacturing design and R&D facility in China). The paper also provides guidelines to policy makers to sustain their country's competitive advantage in the KIBS sectors.

Originality/value

The paper looks at knowledge‐intensive business services in major emerging markets. It offers both conceptual contributions and statistical evidence that key nations differ in their activities in regard to such high‐level and complex service offerings.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Seema Joshi

The growing importance of knowledge and innovation in the present era motivated the author to study knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) in general and the case of…

Abstract

Purpose

The growing importance of knowledge and innovation in the present era motivated the author to study knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) in general and the case of India in particular. The purpose of this paper is to track in brief the strength of India’s economy lying in growth of knowledge-intensive services (KIS), which if harnessed properly can lead to its transition to a knowledge economy. More specifically, the paper tries to address two important questions: first, what constitutes KIS and KIBS? And second, how has KIBS been performing in India?

Design/methodology/approach

The paper makes use of secondary sources of data including various reports, books, journals and statistical tools. An attempt has been made in this paper to review those studies which try to define KIS and KIBS. The data analysis of KIBS in the case of India has been done for the period 2004-2005 to 2011-2012 for which information was available from National Accounts Statistics published by Central Statistical Organization.

Findings

The paper concludes that no unanimously accepted definition of KIBS has been given so far. In the Indian context it is defined as; “business services include services like computer-related services, R&D, accounting services and legal services and renting of machinery in order of importance (shares) as per India’s National Accounts”. An analysis of performance of KIBS in India shows that among KIBS there are two T-KIBs (with a technology base), namely IT and ITeS, and that R&D services occupy the first and second position in India’s gross domestic product (GDP), originating from business services (KIBS). R&D services registered the highest average annual growth rate followed by computer-related services, renting of machinery, legal services and accounting and auditing services during the seven-year period from 2004-2005 to 2011-2012. However, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) was highest in the case of R&D services followed by renting of machinery, computer-related services, legal and accountancy and auditing services. KIBS registered a CAGR of 13.04 per cent, which was higher compared to overall GDP growth rate (at 7.36 per cent), and also compared to the CAGR of the real estate and ownership of dwellings and business services segment as a whole (7.62 per cent). Therefore, there is a need to tap the potential of all these KIBS, i.e. knowledge-intense high-tech services (KIHTS) and knowledge-intense marketing services taken in the study through policy initiatives. There is also a need to deal with emerging issues and challenges in KIBS, especially in KIHTS.

Originality/value

Although there is empirical research on the KIS and KIBS of European Economies, KIBS in India has not received enough research attention. This paper will therefore mainly focus on the performance of KIBS in India.

Details

World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5945

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Ian Miles

The purpose of this paper is to examine knowledge intensive business services, or KIBS for short. KIBS are one of the fastest growing areas of the European economy, and

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine knowledge intensive business services, or KIBS for short. KIBS are one of the fastest growing areas of the European economy, and are increasingly important contributors to the performance of the sectors who are their clients.

Design/methodology/approach

KIBS are distinguished from other services and knowledge‐intensive activities, and statistics on KIBS in the European Union are examined, highlighting key similarities and differences in their development across Member States

Findings

KIBS are continuing to grow at rapid rates, and are experiencing qualitative change. The growth is associated with outsourcing, the internationalisation of services, and the growth in demand for certain forms of knowledge. Many KIBS sectors are becoming more concentrated (though most KIBS sectors feature a higher share of small firms than does the economy as a whole). As KIBS supply a wider range of services, overlap and convergence between different KIBS sectors has grown. But as some KIBS become more involved with their major clients' strategies, it is possible that some services will become specialised, while others integrate their inputs for clients.

Research limitations/implications

Scenario analysis is used to examine policy issues concerning KIBS. These are based on deskwork: group discussion would be a valuable complement to this approach.

Practical implications

A range of policy issues, responses to these issues, and the rationales and challenges that policies may confront are spelled out. The article calls for much more explicit consideration of KIBS in innovation and other policy areas.

Originality/value

KIBS remain poorly studied, and their future development has rarely been considered. The implications for innovation and other policies are examined more explicitly and in greater depth than in previous studies.

Details

Foresight, vol. 7 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 30 May 2019

Ian Douglas Miles, Veronika Belousova and Nikolay Chichkanov

The literature on knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) shows them to be major innovators; this is confirmed with recent data, which the authors use to examine the…

Abstract

Purpose

The literature on knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) shows them to be major innovators; this is confirmed with recent data, which the authors use to examine the various types of innovation that KIBS undertake. The implications for employment and work in highly innovative industries are important topics for analysis, not least because we are in a period where dramatic claims are being made as to the implications of new technologies for professional occupations. Thus, this paper aims to address major debates and conclusions concerning innovation patterns in KIBS and the evolving structures of professional and other work in these industries.

Design/methodology/approach

This essay combines literature review with presentation and discussion of statistics that throw light on the patterns of innovation that characterise KIBS. The authors also consider data that concern trends in the organisation of work in these industries; while the focus is mainly on KIBS firms, they also pay some attention to KIBS-like work in other sectors. Even though KIBS are distinctive industries in modern economies, these analyses can be related to more general studies of, and forecasts about, changes in work organisation.

Findings

The authors show that innovation patterns and employment structures vary substantially across different types of KIBS, with the distinction between technological, professional and creative KIBS proving to be useful for capturing these differences. The authors are also able to demonstrate important long- and medium-term trends in the structure and activities of the KIBS industries. In particular, data clearly demonstrate the increasing share of professional as against associate and clerical workers in most KIBS. Evidence also suggests that polarisation trends across the economy are mirrored, and in some cases amplified, in KIBS. The future prospects for employment in KIBS, and for professional work in particular, are seen to involve multiple factors, which together may bring about substantial change.

Research limitations/implications

The study involves literature review and industry-level statistical analysis. Future work would benefit from firm-level analysis and validation and explication of results via consultation with practitioners and users of KIBS. Some puzzling variations across countries and sectors will need to be explored with national and sectoral experts.

Practical implications

Research into KIBS activities, and their future, should make more use of the extensive statistics on employment and other structural features of the industries that have become available in recent years. KIBS firms and practitioners will need to take account of the forces for change that are liable to restructure their activities.

Originality/value

The literature on KIBS has been concentrated on a rather narrow range of issues, while analysis of the current contributions and future development of the industries requires attention to a wider range of topics. This paper suggests how these topics may be investigated and their implications explored and presents results of enquiries along these lines.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2019

Esteban Lafuente, Angela Solano, Juan Carlos Leiva and Ronald Mora-Esquivel

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between organisational learning capabilities (OLCs) and innovation performance (IP) in organisational contexts…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship between organisational learning capabilities (OLCs) and innovation performance (IP) in organisational contexts where knowledge creation and exploitation are the business’ main source of competitive advantage.

Design/methodology/approach

The study hypotheses are tested on a unique sample of 74 high-performance businesses operating in knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) industries and non-knowledge intensive sectors in 2016. The study employs a sequential deductive triangulation analysis (QUAN → qual) based on linear regression models and qualitative interviews.

Findings

The results indicate that OLCs positively impact IP. Additionally, the findings reveal that this relationship is stronger in organisations where knowledge creation and exploitation constitute the main source of competitive advantage, namely, KIBS firms.

Research limitations/implications

This paper offers insights into how the innovation outcomes of OLCs are heterogeneous across industries. This study contributes to a better understanding of the conditions under which the effects of developing learning-enhancing strategies occur in businesses operating in different industries.

Practical implications

Both knowledge generation and exploitation processes are critical for business success, and OLCs play a decisive role in this process. In this sense, the results suggest that managers need to turn their attention to the characteristics of business operations when considering the development of strategies aimed at enhancing OLCs.

Originality/value

The paper further explores the influence of OLCs on IP by analysing how organisational learning strategies interact with relevant organisational characteristics – that are linked here to the exploitation of knowledge-based resources – to yield superior IP.

Propósito

Este trabajo analiza la relación entre capacidades de aprendizaje organizativo y desempeño innovador en contextos organizacionales donde tanto la creación como la explotación de conocimiento constituyen la principal fuente de ventaja competitiva de las empresas.

Diseño/metodología/enfoque

Para la verificación empírica de las hipótesis planteadas en este trabajo se emplea una base de datos del 2016 que incluye información de 74 empresas ‘gacela’ que operan en sectores de servicios intensivos en conocimiento (KIBS) y en industrias no intensivas en conocimiento. El estudio utiliza un análisis de triangulación secuencial deductiva (QUAN → qual) basado en modelos de regresión lineal y entrevistas en profundidad de corte cualitativo.

Resultados

Los resultados indican que las capacidades de aprendizaje organizativo impactan positivamente el desempeño innovador. Además, los resultados revelan que esta relación es más pronunciada en empresas – empresas KIBS – donde la creación y la explotación de conocimiento son la principal fuente de ventaja competitiva.

Limitaciones/implicaciones de la investigación

Este trabajo ofrece resultados sobre la heterogeneidad de los rendimientos de las capacidades de aprendizaje organizativo, en términos de innovación. Además, este estudio contribuye a un mejor entendimiento de las condiciones bajo las cuales la implantación de estrategias orientadas a mejorar el aprendizaje organizacional se materializa en un mayor desempeño innovador en empresas que operan en distintos sectores económicos.

Implicaciones prácticas

Tanto la creación como la explotación de conocimiento son procesos clave para el éxito empresarial, y las capacidades de aprendizaje organizativo juegan un papel fundamental en este proceso. En este sentido, los resultados del estudio sugieren que los directores y gestores de empresas deben tener en consideración las características de los procesos operativos de sus empresas a la hora de diseñar e implementar estrategias que buscan mejorar las capacidades de aprendizaje organizativo al interior de la empresa.

Originalidad/valor

Este trabajo investiga en profundidad el efecto de las capacidades de aprendizaje organizativo sobre el desempeño innovador mediante un análisis que busca explicar cómo las estrategias de aprendizaje organizativo interactúan con importantes características de la empresa – las cuales asociamos a la explotación de recursos basados en conocimiento – para generar mayores niveles de desempeño innovador dentro de la empresa.

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Article
Publication date: 8 March 2021

Ian Douglas Miles, Veronika Belousova, Nikolay Chichkanov and Zhaklin Krayushkina

Knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) firms focus on applying their expert knowledge to help solve the business problems of their clients: these clients confronted…

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) firms focus on applying their expert knowledge to help solve the business problems of their clients: these clients confronted major new problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic and policy measures such as social distancing and travel restrictions, designed to reduce the rapid spread of the illness. Many KIBS were reliant upon extensive contact with clients, and within teams working on projects; they found their practices disrupted. This study aims to examine how KIBS are evolving to cope with both the sets of changes: those in their own operations, and those involving the emerging business problems of clients.

Design/methodology/approach

The main data sources are material contained in websites of a sample of leading firms in a range of KIBS sectors, and in media reports and other documentation of efforts to confront the pandemic.

Findings

The results indicate considerable efforts in KIBS to address emerging client problems, as well as to adapt their own practices. Their substantial role in confronting the pandemic and associated business difficulties has implications for future crises. KIBS are likely to be important players in shaping responses not only to future pandemics but also to the looming climate crisis.

Originality/value

The study demonstrates the growing role of KIBS and their “second knowledge infrastructure” in modern economies, exemplified by their role in the context of an emerging crisis.

Details

foresight, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 November 2019

Domenico Campisi, Paolo Mancuso, Stefano Luigi Mastrodonato and Donato Morea

Within the service sectors, Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) play an important role in local and regional economies as sources of competitive advantages and…

Abstract

Purpose

Within the service sectors, Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) play an important role in local and regional economies as sources of competitive advantages and providing knowledge-intensive inputs to the business process of small and medium-sized enterprises. This study aims to analyze the changes in financial performance of KIBS industry in Italy over the period from 2012 to 2017.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the efficiency of the KIBS firms by applying data envelopment analysis (DEA) to compute the Malmquist Productivity Index for the period under investigation. The DEA-based Malmquist productivity analysis is applied at firm level using a sample consisting 1.674 companies, representative of the Italian KIBS sector and related to three different NACE activity code (72-computing services; 73-research and development; 74 other professional business activities). The efficiency measures are then used to characterize KIBS firm financial performance through the analysis of average productivity patterns grouped by Italian geographical regions. The Malmquist productivity measures are decomposed into two components: efficiency change and technical change index. The overall analysis is coupled with a financial ratio analysis approach, selecting return on equity (ROE) and leverage ratio as descriptor to validate the results and better characterize differences in efficiency patterns among geographic-based groups of KIBS companies.

Findings

Over the period 2015-2017, the results show that the average annual growth of the overall Malmquist productivity index was positive in nine Italian regions that represent only 17 per cent of the total KIBS firms selected. On the other side, a decrease of the average performance measure is observed for the five geographic areas that contribute to 75.7 per cent of the total sample. In general, the technological change component, as a measure of innovation, strongly limits the productivity growth behavior of KIBS industry for all geographic regions. The use of selected financial ratio does not provide additional insight to the performance investigation and further in-depth studies are needed to better evaluate the correlation between average productivity results and regional business dynamics.

Practical implications

The study investigates the applicability of DEA-based Malmquist indices to the analysis of the productivity behavior of KIBS industry at regional level. It will be of value to provide first evidence to the policymakers to understand industry growth pattern in time frame selected and relate them to additional business factors to detect specific industry constraints.

Originality/value

The analysis in this paper contributes to the existing body of knowledge on industry performance measurement by applying specific analytical techniques to the productivity of Italian KIBS companies. The paper also contributes to the limited body of academic literature investigating KIBS industry at national level proposing a methodological framework that constitutes a first attempt to track average productivity behavior at regional level.

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Bart Kamp and Iñigo Ruiz de Apodaca

The purpose of this paper is to test whether knowledge-intensive business services (KIBSs) contribute to international business activity. In line with studies from the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test whether knowledge-intensive business services (KIBSs) contribute to international business activity. In line with studies from the servitization, the territorial competitiveness and the global value chain realm, it can be hypothesized that if KIBS consumption has a positive effect on business competitiveness, a correlation is discernible between “intensity of KIBS uptake” and “turnover and export performance at industrial sector level”.

Design/methodology/approach

To test this hypothesis, the authors make use of input-output tables from the Basque Country for the period 2000-2012 and regional accounts regarding turnover and export per sector and calculate how consumption of a series of KIBS correlates with turnover and export evolution for 14 industrial sectors.

Findings

The authors find a strong fit between consumption of KIBSs and international competitiveness parameters for the industrial sectors screened.

Research limitations/implications

The authors postulate that the use of KIBS is beneficial for consuming industries. Accordingly, the authors posit that having a sound KIBS basis in a territory contributes to (international) business competitiveness, and that industrial policies should foster the rapprochement of manufacturing sectors to KIBS. At the same time, the authors assume that reverse causalities may be at play (international competitiveness of manufacturing sectors boosts KIBS consumption through backward linkage effects).

Practical implications

The paper posits that having a sound KIBS basis in a territory contributes to international business competitiveness, and that industrial policies should foster a rapprochement of manufacturing sectors to KIBS. A further implication would be to look after a minimum critical mass and or to engage in KIBS capacity building in a territory. Absence of competitiveness-enhancing KIBS in a region may hamper business performance and staying power of user industries. The paper’s findings also imply that the posture of manufacturing firms towards uptake of knowledge-intensive services matters, and that fostering their proactiveness to interact with KIBS is indicated. Similarly, they form an argument in favour of considering KIBS as active subject matters for industrial policy design.

Originality/value

Amidst the several perspectives adopted upon KIBS’ role to foster business and territorial competitiveness, what is largely absent is the examination of how uptake of KIBS by respective sectors relates to the turnover or export evolutions that the sectors in question reveal. Consequently, the present paper sets out to examine this research question.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Article
Publication date: 13 December 2019

Ronnie Figueiredo, João J.M. Ferreira, Rogério Guerra Silveira and Alvaro Teixeira Villarinho

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the propensity for innovation and co-creation in service companies in receipt of knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) type…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the propensity for innovation and co-creation in service companies in receipt of knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) type services through their intensive incorporation of knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to achieve this study objective, the authors first carried out a literature review in order to specify the scope of the construct; second, the authors applied a survey based on the “Spinner model”; third, the authors undertook research on KIBS clients and restricted the results to this population sample; and fourth, based on the validated and applied models deriving from the base construct, the authors presented the results obtained.

Findings

This concludes that the “Spinner” model is valid for explaining the propensity for innovation and co-creation in companies receiving KIBS. The results demonstrate evidence of innovation processes as a result of the intensive application of knowledge associated with co-creation and knowledge transfers.

Research limitations/implications

This provides managers with a better understanding of the barriers that may obstruct the implementation of co-creation and knowledge transfers. Hence, the variables analysed may guide managers in defining and planning innovation strategies. Furthermore, this enables each company receiving such services to validate them and establish indices for the innovation propensity of specialist (knowledge intensive) service providers within the framework of benchmarking exercises.

Originality/value

This study sets out a new means of analysing the propensity for innovation and the co-creation of knowledge by companies making recourse to knowledge intensive services. From the theoretical point of view, this defines a new construct and a means of classification for companies supplying services designed for their propensity for innovation and co-creation. From the practical perspective, this study provides the companies subject to research with the opportunity to perceive their respective position in relation to other companies. In addition to this, ranking companies in such a way may drive the need to develop new knowledge for future co-creation and innovation processes.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

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