Hotels and restaurants are among the most competitive businesses in the world. Yet, as the specialized literature shows, productivity in the hotel industry is significantly lower than in all other sectors of the economy.

One reason that may account for this discrepancy is that the hospitality industry is less prone to innovate than other service firms. This calls into question the role of traditional management practices in hospitality and highlights the necessity for new strategic paradigms to emerge. Interestingly enough, the reasons behind the limited inclination to innovate in many hospitality firms are only marginally and indirectly addressed in hospitality research. More research is needed to analyze the relationship between innovation and organizational effectiveness and to help hospitality firms overcome resistance to innovation. One important driver of this trend is the need for continuous sustainable innovation to stay competitive and profitable, which could lead hospitality firms to search for and to implement a variety of innovative solutions. Among the various forms of innovation, previous research has addressed the significant impact of less traditional forms of innovation on service firm performance. By their very innovative nature, service firms, and expectedly hospitality firms, broaden the scope of innovation and depart from the narrower technological innovation dominant in manufacturing to include novel approaches to commercialize firm assets, new managerial practices, and the adoption of organizational innovations. Therefore, this research proposal intends to contribute to hospitality innovation and productivity. In doing so, it will be informed by practitioner insights and academic research by means of two research strategies. First, from a practical perspective, it will offer hospitality firms guidance by illustrating how the best Swiss hospitality firms innovate organizationally. In-depth and business case studies will underscore the crucial role of novel forms of innovation in fostering competitive advantages for leading hospitality firms. Secondly, it will provide a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between less traditional, non-technological innovation and organizational effectiveness by means of an empirical study in a variety of EU countries.

January 2016 - March 2017
Financial partner: HES-SO

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