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Innovation typology in tourism

This section is structured in two parts according to the determinants at the level of the organization and the determinants at the macro level.

Determinants at the Level of the Organization

Innovation performance in organizations influences innovation activity at the macro level. Similarly, linkages between actors enhance innovative activity in organizations. The determinants introduced in this subsection take into consideration the organizational level. These are summarized in table 4.1. Some of them also influence innovation at the macro level, e.g. technological trajectories or diversification, while others are organization specific. In this classification, organizations within the tourism sector as well as external organizations are taken into consideration.

  • Type of activity. This determinant refers to the main activity of the organization. Innovation performance differs among private and public organizations. In the latter are included government, universities and other public institutions, which carry out different innovation activities. As for private firms, innovation performance differs according to the firm’s main activity. In this regard, several tourism services have a higher rate of product change. Such services must innovate frequently in order to stay competitive. For instance, cultural services or leisure activities rely on the ability to introduce changes regularly. Besides, it is also necessary to consider firms that supply the industry with new knowledge. In this matter, KIBS play a major role. These can operate inside the tourism industry or they can be external actors.

  • Organization’s size. The influence of organization’s size on innovation performance has been usually studied regarding private firms. In this matter, large firms have been identified as being more innovative. Nevertheless, SME’s can be very innovative as well. In this regard, entrepreneurs are SME’s that invest in innovation processes. Besides, innovation in SME’s can emerge through the cooperation with other actors of the environment. Consequently, regarding private firms the most innovative ones are large tourism firms together with entrepreneurs and SME’s that collaborate with other actors of the environment. Other organizations in the tourism sector such as research centres or public institutions are also influenced by organization’s size. Large organizations with more resources and capacity to innovate may introduce changes regularly. In contrast, local institutions with fewer resources must rely on successful ideas as well as on the collaboration with other organizations.

  • Diversification of innovation. Diversification is related to the range of activities carried out within organizations as well as with the different innovation processes developed. Specialized firms focus on the development of certain types of innovations. These firms have limited possibilities to innovate. For instance, firms that only invest on process innovations enhance efficiency, but they do not take into consideration quality improvements. In contrast, diversified firms that carry out different innovation activities are more able to acquire knowledge from different sources. Firms that diversify innovation processes have more possibilities to innovate. Diversification is more usual in large organizations. Smaller and


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