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  • Frontline employees role in service innovation and value creation

    Jenny Karlsson

    Jenny Karlsson | Frontline em

    ployees role in service innovation and value creation | 2018:4

    Frontline employees role in service innovation and value creation

    This thesis aims to explore frontline employees contributions to service innovation. First, it provides an extended understanding of how frontline employees contribute to service innovation. It was found that they contribute knowledge generated in three resource integration processes, value facilitation, value co-creation, and by learning from users value creation processes. Frontline employees are well equipped to draw on their knowledge and to integrate resources into new or developed value propositions, both during specific service innovation projects and in their day-to-day work practices. Second, when involved in service innovation, frontline employees enact different types of roles; e.g. as deliverers, as co-creators, and as negotiators. Third, frontline employees contributions to service innovation, as well as service innovation and value creation more generally, can be understood from three perspectives, an intra-organizational perspective following a goods-dominant logic, an open-collective perspective, and an open-conflictual perspective, where the latter two are informed by service-dominant logic. This thesis confirms, develops, and extends previous research by illuminating different ways of creating value and conducting service innovation, relating to frontline employees.

    DOCTORAL THESIS | Karlstad University Studies | 2018:4

    Faculty of arts and social sciences

    Business Administration

    DOCTORAL THESIS | Karlstad University Studies | 2018:4

    ISSN 1403-8099

    ISBN 978-91-7063-926-5 (pdf)

    ISBN 978-91-7063-831-2 (print)

  • DOCTORAL THESIS | Karlstad University Studies | 2018:4

    Frontline employees role in service innovation and value creation

    Jenny Karlsson

  • Print: Universitetstryckeriet, Karlstad 2018

    Distribution:Karlstad University Karlstad Business SchoolService Research CenterSE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden+46 54 700 10 00

    The author

    ISSN 1403-8099

    urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-65544

    Karlstad University Studies | 2018:4

    DOCTORAL THESIS

    Jenny Karlsson

    Frontline employees role in service innovation and value creation

    WWW.KAU.SE

    ISBN 978-91-7063-926-5 (pdf)

    ISBN 978-91-7063-831-2 (print)

  • To my children

  • i

    Abstract Frontline employees play a key role in service innovation and value creation. However, a detailed and structured understanding of how frontline employees contribute, and what types of roles they enact when involved in service innovation, is lacking. Hence, this thesis aims to explore frontline employees contributions to service innovation. The thesis consists of five empirical papers. Data has been collected from both private and public organizations via interviews, observations, documents, and innovation groups. The three main contributions of this thesis are as follows: Firstly, an extended understanding of how frontline employees contribute to service innovation. It was found that they contribute knowledge generated in three resource integration processes; value facilitation, value co-creation, and by learning from users value creation processes. Frontline employees are well equipped to draw on their knowledge and to integrate resources into new or developed value propositions, both during specific service innovation projects and in their day-to-day work practices. Secondly, when involved in service innovation, frontline employees enact different types of roles, e.g. as deliverers, as co-creators, and as negotiators. The third contribution, suggests that front line employees contributions to service innovation, as well as service innovation and value creation more generally, can be understood from three perspectives; i) an intra-organizational perspective following a goods-dominant logic, ii) an open-collective perspective, and iii) an open-conflictual perspective, where the latter two are informed by service-dominant logic. Thus, this thesis confirms, develops, and extends previous research by illuminating different ways of creating value and conducting service innovation, relating to frontline employees.

  • ii

  • iii

    Acknowledgements Well, it took a while, but now you are actually holding a copy of my thesis in your hand. I have been a doctoral student for some years now, and I have really enjoyed it, but my story starts earlier than that. It was the day before my first day at the University and I was feeling a bit nervous; I wanted to check where I was going for my first lecture. I went to Karlstad with my mom and we had a nice cup of coffee and a piece of carrot cake at one of the cafs. There and then, we decided that once I had finished my studies, we would celebrate my graduation in the same way as I had started it. However, we never had that final piece of carrot cake. I have been thinking about that a lot, but now I know why this was the case. At that time, I hadnt yet finished my studies. There are many colleagues and friends that I would like to say thank you to. First of all, I would like to thank my supervisors Professor Per Skln and Dr. Carolina Camn. From you, I have learned to stand up for myself and my research. Per, thank you for being my main supervisor during this time. You really know the art of doing research and I really appreciate having had the opportunity to learn from you. I am amazed about your quick responses and creative comments on how to improve my manuscripts. Carolina, thank you for becoming my supervisor halfway into this process. You have been supportive in so many ways and situations. Your trust and commitment mean so much to me. I also want you to know that you are not just a great supervisor, you are also a very good friend to me and to my family. This research could not have been done without financial support. I would like to express my gratitude to the financers of my research; VINNOVA Swedens innovation agency, CTF (Service Research Center) and the Department of Business Administration at Karlstad University. The thesis would have not been possible without the participating organizations and all the respondents in the two service innovation research projects that I have been involved in. Thank you for generously giving your time, for good cooperation and for sharing your knowledge and experiences with me. To Associate Professor Patrik Gottfridsson and Professor Lars Fuglsang, thank you for sharing your scientific experience and for providing me with valuable comments on my work during the mid and final seminars.

  • iv

    I would also like to thank all my colleagues at CTF and at the Department of Business Administration. My special thanks go to Associate Professor Marit Engen, who shares my engagement in frontline employees and service innovation. You are a fantastic colleague, co-author, and a good friend. Im looking forward to continuing our work. Thank you Professor Peter Magnusson and Dr. Erik Sundstrm for being the co-authors of two of the papers appended to this thesis. Thank you Sofia M. and Johan N. for sharing the doctoral journey with me. To Linda F, thank you for all the 5 minutes. Thank you Linda B., Pernille, Johan K., Maria, Peter S., Roberta, Jessica, Josina and Kaisa for your support and encouragement. Britt-Marie S., thank you for all the cheering words and for your support in practical issues. Thank you Jrg, Alex (and Johan N.) for being such great performers. Thank you Helena L. and Claes H., my previous PhD colleagues. To Associate Professor Margareta Bjurklo and Associate Professor Fredrik Blix: You are the ones who introduced me to the world of research. When I participated in your defense, Fredrik, you ignited a spark. Margareta, you nurtured that spark and encouraged me to apply to go on this adventure. Thank you both for doing that. To my friends: Sara Z, thank you for moving to Sweden so you could be one of my dearest friends. Jenny F, my friend in the world (as we often say) with so many memories to share. Thank you for providing me with a second home and an all-inclusive writing cottage during this time. Thank you, Sara E, for many hours spent on the phone, to Maria M. for the relaxing trips, and to Jennie S, you are the most encouraging person I know and someone who always has the guts. Thanks also to my childhood friends for always being supportive and proud of me - Kristin, Ann-Sofie, Anna, and Camilla. To my parents: Mom, I would have loved to have had you here, to tell you all the ups and downs that come with writing a PhD thesis, and having a family. To get all your wise words. To my dad, you are a great listener and I know that you will always be there for me. To my brother, who sends me funny surprises to lighten up my everyday life.

  • v

    Last but not least: Mattias, thank you for making me laugh and for reminding me of the most important things in life. Thank you for being there. To my children, Tore and Majken, you are the best thing that ever happened, and you mean the world to me. I love the three of you so much and I promise that I will be spending a lot more time with you again, now that I have finished this thesis. So, colleagues, friends and family, now its time for that cup of coffee and a piece of carrot cake. Again, thank you all. Karlstad, February 2018, Jenny Karlsson

  • vi

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................11.1.AIM.......................................................

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