Mobile technology capabilities and their role in service innovation practices in creative SMEs.
Authors: Bolat, E.
Editors: Robson, J. and Aroean, L.
Mobile technology is a next step in the expansion of opportunities made available by information technology (IT). It remains questionable as to whether mobile technology differs from fixed networks and stationary IT, while the role of mobile technology deployment in service innovation practices still needs to be established. In this thesis service innovation practices and mobile technology deployment are studied in a creative industry setting – in-depth interviews with 31 SME managers are analysed using a grounded theory approach. A capability approach, wherein capabilities imply a use-in-practice analysis of a firm’s assets and competences deployment, assists in conceptualising the process of mobile technology deployment and understanding qualitative results. As a result, this study concludes that accessing or acquiring mobile technology resources and developing mobile technology capabilities underpin mobile technology deployment. Primarily, this thesis’s main theoretical contribution is in introducing and defining a new concept named ‘mobile technology capabilities’, namely a firm’s unique practices employed in orchestrating mobile technology resources to create a competitive advantage. Mobile technology capabilities consist of five distinct practices that firms perform to combine and integrate mobile technology resources into organisational processes, namely learning, leading, transforming, leveraging mobile technology resources and solving problems. Moreover, this study concludes that interaction between mobile technology resources and mobile technology capabilities stimulates and facilitates both process and product service innovation practices, where organisational commitment towards mobile technology deployment determine the innovation practices with which a firm is going to engage. Hence, three clusters of creative service SMEs were identified in this study, which reflect on diverse practices of mobile technology deployment. The understanding of mobile technology deployment process that derives from this thesis is particularly significant in showing SMEs’ managers the real value in embracing mobile technology.