Services are increasingly becoming a crucial driver of the economies of developed countries. At the same
time, innovation is not only recommended, but also required, to ensure survival and growth of
organisations, within the manufacturing as well as the service sectors. Given globalisation and the
development of information and communication technologies, more and more heterogeneous parties are
and might be involved in innovation processes; meaning that both manufacturers and service providers shall
take into consideration a more diverse set of needs and expectations when developing new offerings.
Within the service context, specifically, empirical evidence and existing research suggest that interactions
between stakeholders are an important element of innovation processes. Therefore, when managing and
studying innovation in the service context, interactions between stakeholders should be taken into
So far, the literature on innovation in services has addressed some of the aspects of interactions between
stakeholders, such as customer involvement and open innovation practices. Nevertheless, when looking at
innovation processes in services, scholars have typically adopted a firm-centric approach and taken into
consideration only the perspective of the service-providing organisation. The perspective of the beneficiary
of the service, however, as well as that of other stakeholders, is a crucial element for the understanding of
innovation in services and related interactions. In fact, given the recognition that services are characterised
by interactivity between stakeholders, the perspective of the service beneficiary determines the way an
outcome is co-produced. This dissertation investigates how interactions between stakeholders unfold
throughout innovation processes in services, and how service organisations and their stakeholders navigate
and manage such unfolding to reach successful outcomes.
Grounded in the literature and theories on innovation in services, this dissertation adopts a qualitative
approach and emphasises the empirical context of facilities management services. Facilities management
services are a set of support services. They are meant to ensure that the employees of an organisation can
carry out the tasks and activities related to the core business, without having to worry about, for example,
the management of the workplace, catering and cleaning, security and safety. Facilities management
services are categorised as task-interactive services, i.e., are centred on the close interaction between
demand and supply, and were selected as empirical field of investigation because they allow to
transparently observe interactions between stakeholders throughout innovation processes.
To reach the research aim, this dissertation includes five papers with different objectives and questions,
which touch upon various aspects of innovation in services while maintaining a dedicated focus on the
interactions between stakeholders. As a consequence, I combined a shared qualitative approach with a
varied research approach (inductive, abductive and deductive), which includes a literature review and four
empirical papers. The empirical work for this dissertation includes an explorative study, three mini case
studies and an in-depth longitudinal case study. The collected data range from interviews to archive data
and passive observation, and the data analysis was carried out through a systematic approach to coding
supported by the qualitative data analysis software Atlas.ti (v.6).
Overall, this dissertation offers several contributions to theory and practice. First of all, this work stresses
the role of stakeholder management for the success of innovation processes, and outlines a series of
methods and tools that might support dealing with heterogeneous parties when aiming for innovation.
Furthermore, and perhaps more interestingly, this work underlines that interactions between stakeholders
are one of the driving and characterising elements of innovation processes in services. In short, the
organisation trajectory, i.e., the development over time of the business model of an organisation, is
dependent on changes in the business model of its stakeholders. But interactions between stakeholders play
a crucial role in all types of innovation processes, not only business model innovation: tensions and
conflicts between diverse parties are one of the driving forces behind innovation processes in services.
Therefore service organisations should carefully identify and, when possible, select their stakeholders to
maximise the potential of interactions. Moreover, service organisations should evaluate how each set of
stakeholders should be involved in different types of innovation processes, and manage interactions through
change and expectation management.