Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Testing the Relationship between Product Innovation and Process Innovation. A Comparative Analysis of Tourism and Manufacturing Sectors

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Testing the Relationship between Product Innovation and Process Innovation. A Comparative Analysis of Tourism and Manufacturing Sectors

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


The global tourism sector has acquired a structural importance for the economies of both developed countries and developing countries (Ivanov & Webster, 2013). According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism revenues account for 6% of total world export of goods and services and 30% of total world export of services (WTO, 2012). These figures speak for themselves about the structural importance of tourism and its capacity to generate added value and employment.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that, like many other sectors, tourism is undergoing a process of increasing technological change (Ritchie & Crouch, 2000; Hjalager, 2002). This change took place mainly as a result of the information technology revolution in the 1980s. Such a revolution prompted changes in the concept of innovation and facilitated the visibility of tourism as an innovative sector (Hjalager, 2010).

Therefore, at present, in order to improve the competitiveness of tourism companies, it is necessary to understand the sources and patterns of innovation activities, primarily those that are directly attributable to tourism (Hjalager, 2013). However, several authors note that studies of innovation in tourism are scarce (Aldebert, Dang, & Longhi, 2011; Alsos, Eide, & Madsen, 2014; Camisón & Monfort-Mir, 2012; Drejer, 2004; Flikkema, Jansen, & Van der Sluis, 2007; Hjalager, 2002; Pechlaner, Reuter, & Zehrer, 2010; Sundbo, Orfila-Sintes, & Sorensen, 2007; Weiermair & Peters, 2002). Indeed, to counteract at least partially, the shortage of empirical studies about innovation in tourism, this study aims to provide new insights into two of the recurring debates in the field of innovation: firstly, in the context of the Spanish tourism sector, an analysis will be undertaken of the possible coexistence or substitutability relationship between product and process innovation; secondly, the study will compare these relationships with those that take place in the Spanish manufacturing sector in order to test empirically whether innovation behaviours in tourism and manufacturing companies are quite different (e.g. Hjalager, 2002, Volo, 2004).

The coexistence of both types of innovation has not been analysed for the tourism sector. In other sectors, mainly in manufacturing, the mutual relations of causality between product innovation and process innovation have been studied (Fritsch & Meschede, 2001; Kraft, 1990; Martinez-Ros, 2000; Salter & Alexy, 2014), as well as coexistence relations, through correlation coefficients (Damanpour & Gopalakrishnan, 2001; Zahra, Neubaum, & Huse, 2000). Moreover, the relationship of complementarityi between different innovation strategies, such as 'make', 'buy' or 'cooperate', has been studied (e.g. Cassiman & Veugelers, 2006; Schmiedeberg, 2008). Also, in the specific area of the hospitality industry, studies have been carried out analysing the coexistence between a set of innovation strategies in which they break down each of the aforementioned strategies (Guisado-González, Guisado-Tato, & Sandoval, 2013).

The relationship between product innovation and process innovation has been analysed in the economic literature from two opposing views (Damanpour, 2010): on the one hand, there is the distinctive view, which considers that both types of innovation are independent; on the other hand, there is the integrative view, which assumes that both types of innovation are complementary.

In the distinctive view, the studies which have attempted to investigate the causes that are critical to each of the two types of innovation have carried out such research separately (Damanpour, 2010), considering first one kind of innovation and then the other (e.g. Baer and Frese, 2003; Li and Atuagene-Gima, 2001). However, subsequent schools of thought have emerged, advocating the need for studies that aim to analyse the generation or joint adoption of both types of innovation, because companies that simultaneously introduce product and process innovations are more likely to achieve better performance measures (e. …

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