Comparing service, product, and process innovations: insights from a European supply chain network

Atefeh Yazdanparast Ardestani, Ila Manuj, Michael Plasch, Markus Gerschberger, Daniela Freudenthaler-Mayrhofer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical framework that explains service, process, and product innovations in the context of a supply chain network of a European company. The phenomenon is explored from the points of view of the suppliers and three functions within the buyer firm, namely the initiator department, the technical department, and the purchasing department. Innovation projects addressing three types of innovations - service, process, and product - were captured using the case research methodology. 33 in-depth focus group interviews generated data on 38 unique innovation projects. Grounded Theory approach was employed for data analysis including constant comparative method within and across interviews and theoretical sampling. This led to the discovery of core categories and theoretical relationships between them, and insights into similarities and differences in the three types of innovations. Results suggest that practice of innovation varies depending upon whether the project starts at a strategic or operational level. Another finding is that both procedural and interactional elements vary depending upon the type of innovation. Finally, multiple aspects including the primary reasons for initiating a project, success factors linked to a project, and challenges encountered during project execution vary depending upon the level and type of innovation. The findings provide insights to managers on the structuring and implementation of innovation efforts by identifying critical factors and challenges specific to different types of projects at different levels and of different types. This may enable superior management of innovation projects across a supply chain network.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th European Research Seminar (ERS CSCMP)
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event10th European Research Seminar on Logistics and SCM - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 23 Apr 201524 Apr 2015


Conference10th European Research Seminar on Logistics and SCM
Internet address


  • Supply chain innovation
  • Innovation network
  • Innovation management


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