School of Computing and Engineering

Open innovation in knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) SMEs

Primary supervisor: Dr Yu-Chun Pan

Start date: January, May or September of each academic year

Duration: 3 year (full-time) or 5 years (part-time)

Research context

Research at the University of West London lives in an ecosystem of interdisciplinary research clusters. This PhD position is based in the School of Computing and Engineering. This particular proposal focuses on open innovation and value creation in knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) organisations.

Organisations create and deliver value to customers through a variety of ways, such as offering tangible goods or intangible services. In the modern world, more and more organisations deliver intangible services to their customers. Organisations that offer services often utilise knowledge to create value and contribute to the knowledge economy. Knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) organisations accumulate, create and disseminate supplier’s specialist knowledge to deliver customised services or solutions to satisfy customer needs. Based on the nature of their offerings, organisations might create value via a range of value creation logics, e.g. chain logic, shop logic, web logic, network logic and package logic.

Open innovation has changed the new product development (NPD) process for many organisations. Apart from product-based organisations, service providers have adopted open innovation. In recent years, KIBS firms have been under pressure to innovate in order to meet modern world customers’ requirements. Whilst many researchers investigated into open innovation in KIBS organisations, the main focus has been on large organisations. SMEs normally face more resource constraints than large organisations, and this could potentially influence the adoption of open innovation in SMEs. In order to create a more enabling environment for open innovation in KIBS SMEs, it is necessary to gain further insights into this domain.

Research goal

The main goal of this research is to understand how to create an environment that facilitates open innovation in KIBS SMEs. In order to do so, the following key objectives need to be met.

  • To identify the factors and barriers to open innovation in KIBS SMEs
  • To clarify the correlation between open innovation factors and different value creation logics in KIBS SMEs
  • To develop a framework to facilitate and manage open innovation in KIBS SMEs

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have an MSc or equivalent degree in relevant subjects. Strong commitment to reaching research excellence and achieving assigned objectives is required, so has an ability to work in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. It is expected that the PhD candidate will carry out applied research work that will start from the establishment of a theoretical framework, continue with workplace studies to explore the research goals and conclude with the validation of a proposed framework.

Background knowledge and/or previous experience in the following areas, though not mandatory, will be considered very favourably: innovation, business process management, information systems, and professional services (e.g. legal services, accounting, R&D, and management consultancy).

All applicants for whom English is not their first language must also demonstrate their English language proficiency through evidence of IELTS at overall 7 (with 6.5 in all four skills) or by providing access to MA/MSc chapters or published work.

Further information

For general enquiries about the application process visit the Graduate School pages.

Questions regarding academic aspects of the project should be directed to Dr Yu-Chun Pan y.pan@uwl.ac.uk