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Frontline knowledge networks in open collaboration models for service innovations

Ozlem Ozkok (), Simon J. Bell (), Jagdip Singh () and Kwanghui Lim ()
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Ozlem Ozkok: University of Melbourne
Simon J. Bell: University of Melbourne
Jagdip Singh: Case Western Reserve University
Kwanghui Lim: University of Melbourne

AMS Review, 2019, vol. 9, issue 3, No 8, 268-288

Abstract: Abstract Service organizations often view customer-facing or frontline employees (FLEs) as sources of inimitable knowledge valuable for innovation. This is due to the experiential nature of service and subtle qualities of engaging customer interactions. Yet, organizations face significant challenges while leveraging the knowledge of their FLEs to develop service innovations. Drawing upon the open innovation and social network literatures, we theorize the role of FLE networks, and the degree to which these networks enable the flow of distinct content for realizing effective service innovation. Specifically, we conceptualize a taxonomy of network domains—connecting customer- and internal-facing employees, and resource flows—new knowledge and self-governance activities, to provide a framework for FLE roles in knowledge networks for service-innovation. Our taxonomy expands opportunities for theorizing the mechanisms of frontline knowledge networks in service innovation as well as identifying a “dark side” that undermines potential innovation gains if left unchecked. Future directions and implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Keywords: Services marketing; Frontline knowledge; Open innovation; Social network; Service employee (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s13162-018-00133-5

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