Title: Skills, expertise and innovation in the developing knowledge economy: the case of business and professional services

Authors: John R. Bryson, Peter W. Daniels

Addresses: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. ' School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

Abstract: This paper provides the first detailed empirical analysis of skill acquisition and development within Business and Professional Service (BPS) firms. The importance of expertise has been highlighted in much of the BPS literature; yet skills/expertise acquisition and development have not been addressed in any great detail. This is a serious omission. The relationship between the supply and demand for skilled professionals as well as the local availability of skills training for BPS firms should be central to both regional and national policy. The analysis reveals that a significant proportion of BPS firms do not have appraisal systems or training budgets and that technical skill may be undermined by poor communication and commercial skills. Staff proficiency problems result in enhanced costs as well as delays in product/service innovation. This paper is based upon a detailed survey of 1198 firms located in the West Midlands (UK) as well as 208 in-depth interviews.

Keywords: business services; professional services; BPS; skills; expert labour; support staff; competitiveness; hard to fill vacancies; training; expertise; knowledge economy; skilled professionals; services innovation; product innovation; UK; United Kingdom.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2008.019706

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2008 Vol.9 No.3/4, pp.249 - 267

Available online: 24 Jul 2008 *

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