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Service Creativity Reinforcement And Firm Performance

Kuen-Hung Tsai, Stephen Chi-Tsun Huang

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Purpose Many service firms have adopted creativity reinforcement mechanisms to manage employee-based service creativity so as to pursue their performance growth. However, its impact on firm performance has rarely been investigated in the extant research. The purpose of this paper is to satisfy this knowledge gap through an examination of how service creativity reinforcement (SCR) affects a firm’s performance. Design/methodology/approach Two samples were used to test the hypotheses. The first sample included a total of 4,381 service firms and was analyzed by using a traditional moderated regression method in relation to sales growth as the outcome variable. Due to a number of missing values, the second sample was reduced to 1,481 service firms. This sample was analyzed by using a moderated fractional regression method and the outcome variable was innovation performance. Furthermore, a multi-valued treatment approach with the augmented inverse-propensity weighted estimator was adopted to assess the performance effect that was associated with each of the SCR mechanisms. Findings Statistical analyses suggested that SCR positively affected both the firm’s performance and its innovation performance. Specifically, the stronger performance effects of SCR were associated with firms that had high innovation intensity, were small service firms and were part of the knowledge-intensive business service (KIBS) sector. The results also found that brainstorming sessions, a multi-disciplinary team approach, task rotation and non-financial incentives had greater performance effects than other mechanisms, especially for firms in the KIBS sector that had high innovation intensity. In addition, the results indicated that team-level mechanisms were more effective in developing highly innovative services than were individual-level mechanisms. Originality/value This study has contributed to the service literature by developing a contingency framework for SCR. This study has also advanced service research through the presentation of contextual effects associated with each mechanism of SCR.