The present research has three aims: (1) to review existing research on service innovation and demonstrate the existence and relevance of an innovation model, distinct from that previously identified for products or processes; (2) to demonstrate that a multistage organizational learning model is relevant for describing the nature of innovative processes in services; and (3) to validate the relevance of this model through application in case studies.
On the basis of a review of literature on service innovation and individual and organizational learning, this thesis tests the relevance of a model by collecting data through two case studies that represent banking and retailing. Longitudinal methodologies validate the temporal dimension of learning. Multiple interviews and triangulation provide reliable empirical data. The results confirm the relevance of multistage organizational learning models. In particular, development process constitute a learning process, realized by successive interactions at different levels of an organization, namely, individual, group, and organizational. However, rather than being embedded in physical features, the results of learning processes are “frozen” into new organizational routines, procedures, rules, and ex-post rationalizations. The proposed model of new service development can contribute to improving development processes.