Innovation and Employment in Services : The case of Knowledge Intensive Business Services in Sweden

Abstract: This is a study of innovation in Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) and the impact innovation has on employment. The thesis relies on theories within the fields of "innovation in services", in particular KIBS, and "innovation and employment", taking as its point of departure the taxonomy of product and process innovation.The thesis is based on a discussion of innovation in services with a focus on how innovation in services may be understood and delineated. A long discussion is dedicated to the taxonomy of product and process innovation and the extent to which these concepts may be applicable to innovation in services. The thesis also scrutinises the concept of KIBS and how this can be defined. It further discusses features commonly associated with KIBS firms. The thesis is also rooted in the broader issue of innovation as a creator and destroyer of employment and makes a contribution in applying these issues to service sectors.The empirical part of the thesis builds on a database compiled for the research project, comprised of 967 Swedish KIBS firms. The database covers issues of innovation, employment and characteristics of the firm.The findings indicate that innovation was common in Swedish KIBS firms and that innovations often had an impact on employment. However, the thesis did not detect a straightforward relation between type of innovation (technological process innovation, organisational process innovation, goods product innovation and service product innovation) and the impact on employment. Explanations other than type of innovation have to be considered to analyse the impact of innovation on employment. The thesis further suggests that although innovation in KIBS is common, innovation itself is difficult to conceptualise and delineate.