Initiating service encounter-based innovation by word-of-business

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Group Publishing Ltd


School of Business




Mattsson, J. (2015). Initiating service encounter-based innovation by word-of-business in Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 30(7), 880-888. Available here.


Purpose – This paper aims to set up a natural experiment as action research and to develop a framework of cognitive distance of informants to improve the initiation of service encounter-based innovation. Design/methodology/approach – Natural experiment as action research in one Scandinavian case company is used. This paper includes a longitudinal study over 10 month’s duration. Findings – An organisational support system and an improved front-office innovation climate were set up which generated a new system for information gleaning. A framework of cognitive distance was induced from transcriptions of interviews and transcriptions. Research limitations/implications – Only one Scandinavian company and a limited number of informants were activated. Also, the time period only included the initiation phase of service encounter-based innovation. Practical implications – Three different strategies are suggested to respond to different types of word-of-business. Social implications – Cognitive distance is a generic concept which relates to all human interaction and communication. It can explain why it is so difficult to “get things across”. Originality/value – This paper presents a new theory in an emerging innovation field, open/user-driven innovation. Theory from business marketing, service encounter and innovation is also used.



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