Service research today and tomorrow

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Spotlight on international activities

Service research today and tomorrowNot even research and development can resist the sweep of internationalisation. On the contrary, the trend towards the internationalisation of research and development has intensified markedly in recent decades. One of the main reasons for this development is the acceleration of invention and innovation cycles and the concomitant need for knowledge to be exchanged quickly and efficiently. New globe-spanning information and communication technologies have also paved the way for entirely new forms of international cooperation. However, another effect of increasing internationalisation is competition for attractive R & D locations. Integration in international research networks and, above all, international reputation are destined to become critical decision-making factors determining the selection of locations in both the worlds of business and academia.

Many of these observations are also pertinent to the relatively young field of service research. To date, however, the service sector has tended to be neglected in Germany. Even though services now account for around 70 percent of gross national product, the attention of the general public and the worlds of business and politics is still riveted on production. A direct result of this infatuation with the manufacturing sector is that Germany continues to be perceived internationally as a classic production location but as much less attractive for service-related research and business.

These issues represent the point of departure for current project activities undertaken by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, of which this study forms a part. The main aim of this study is to take stock of current international service research – focusing in particular on the role of Germany – and to initiate discussion on the action which the results of the study suggest needs to be taken. In particular the study aims to stimulate further work in the field of service research.

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