Service Absorptive Capacity: Its Evolution and Implications for Innovation

Bertha Jimenez, Bojan Angelov, Bharat Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of absorptive capacity has been part of the strategy and innovation discourse for a few decades. As industry and business practices have evolved, so has the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for developing and growing the absorptive capacity of contemporary organizations. In this paper, we trace the evolution of this concept and its operationalization and measurement. We particularly investigate how absorptive capacity can be used as a potential anchor of innovation research in service industries. We suggested the conceptualization of a service absorptive capacity and propose different measures that could aid to this conceptualization. We also provide an alternative to the predominant focus on the functional characteristics and research and development practices in innovation studies to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-163
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the Knowledge Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Innovation
  • Service industries
  • Strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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