In search for knowledge transfer mechanisms of service business capabilities

Jari Konttinen*, Nina Rilla, Katri Kallio, Anssi Smedlund

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


    Knowledge has been argued as being the source of competitive advantage of firms in today's economy (i.e. Conner and Prahalad, 1996; Grant, 1996a). Large share of the economic activity in the market can be considered as knowledge intensive, where knowledge is both the resource and an outcome of business (Gallouj, 2002). Knowledge intensity is becoming even more highlighted in Finnish economy in the future because the share of service business is continuing to grow larger compared to manufacturing and agriculture. Consequently, the importance of the development of Finnish service industries and firms has been a recognised in current innovation policy design. One of the aspects in promoting service business development relates to efficient transfer of service business capabilities between firms and other organizations, such as intermediaries. This paper presents a systematic framework for studying knowledge transfer of service business capabilities. Knowledge transfer in services in one organizational setting has been addressed in some earlier studies (Argote and Ingram, 2000). In inter-organizational knowledge transfer related to service business development are even scarcer. With the help of the framework constructed in this paper we aim at answering empirically to following question: what mechanisms of knowledge transfer and co-creation can be used to develop and transfer the knowledge and capabilities developed in one organizational setting (firms, intermediaries) to another? We build our analysis around the Edvarsson and Olsson's (1996) model on creating good quality prerequisites for service development. Edvarsson and Olsson (1996) argue that services and thus service development consist of three basic components: service concept, service system and service process. The target of renewal in services can be directed to each of these elements. We argue that in order to enhance the capabilities of service firm we must understand what, how and where service firms gain their knowledge on service development. We also argue that in order to enhance the capabilities of service firm the role of external tacit knowledge is crucial. This knowledge is often mediated and moderated through third-party actors (intermediaries), such as research and education organizations, consultancies and development agencies. Therefore special attention is paid on the role of intermediary organizations in these processes. Our goal is to understand what different knowledge transfer mechanisms are and could be used in developing service business capabilities and how these could be supported by the actions of intermediary organizations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011
    Number of pages3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventEuropean Conference on Knowledge Management - Famalicao, Portugal
    Duration: 2 Sep 20103 Sep 2010
    Conference number: 11


    ConferenceEuropean Conference on Knowledge Management
    Abbreviated titleECKM


    • Co-creation
    • Knowledge transfer
    • Service business capabilities
    • Service development

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