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Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Hui-Lin Song
  • Yuan-di Wang
  • Carol Zhang
Reforming opening comes more than 30 years, the hotel industry in China gets flying development. With the continuous increase of numbers of hotels in China, the relatively weak position within international division of labour has not been improved. The lack of the innovation capacity of China’s tourism industry (including the hospitality industry) leads to the extensive economic mode that high financial input often results in a relatively lower return. This has become a major constraint to the competitiveness of China’s hospitality industry. The innovation pattern of the hospitality industry highly depends on external factors. It is mainly because the hotel industry is generally lack of Research and Development department and is regarded as low skilled service industry. While the existing literature on hotel service innovation has demonstrated the external knowledge is the indispensable element to the hotel innovation, academic studies have overlooked the search, access and use process of the external knowledge to enhance the innovation capacity of the hotel industry. As a result, it is impossible to answer a question: with the low-technology and absence of research and development, how the hotel industry could enhance service innovation?

Therefore, this research adopts the theory of boundary - spanning search of knowledge as the dependable variable in the field of hotel innovation to explore the impact of transboundary search knowledge on hotel service innovation and to discuss the regulation effects of both the hotel Star level and the ownership type. The study adopts the quantitative survey methodology. The questionnaire was distributed to 100 hotels in Dalian, China. The theoretical model is also tested in this study by using those samples. The results show that (1) the research finding is consistent with the high technology research in the developed countries, which the transboundary search of technological knowledge can accelerate hotel service innovation in the context of China. (2) The transboundary search of technological knowledge and the market knowledge can both stimulate hotel service innovation. This indicates the external transboundary search of knowledge is the key of enhancing the innovation capacity of the hotel service industry. (3) Both the hotel Star level and the ownership type regulate the above relationship. The Star level has different regulate effects in between various types of transboundary knowledge and the hotel innovation. Specifically, the higher the hotel Star level, the greater the transboundary search of technological knowledge impact on the hotel service innovation, while the lesser impact of the transboundary search of the market knowledge on the hotel service innovation. In comparison, the relationship between the transboundary search of market knowledge and the hotel service innovation is weaker for foreign-invested companies than for domestic companies. However, the study does not find any significant relationship between the transboundary search of the technological knowledge and the hotel service innovation. The possible explanation might be that the high staff turnover rate in the hospitality industry makes the transfer of the knowledge-intensive and social capital-intensive personnel in foreign-invested hotels to domestic hotels possible and thus contributes to the knowledge transfer to some extent. Additional, the “going out” strategy has been implemented within Chinese enterprises in recent years stimulates the increase of foreign investment within some large scale domestic hotel group in China. This thus is beneficial to domestic hotels in the transboundary search of the advanced technological skills in oversea hotels. As a result, the technological skills is easily transferred through the relocation of personnel which contributes to the hotel service innovation. In conclusion, the current study not only provides new theoretical perspectives in the field of the hotel service innovation, but also tests the adaptability of transboundary knowledge research in the low-technology business in the developing country. It also provides important theoretical basis for companies to develop searching strategies.
Translated title of the contributionResearch on the effects of boundary-spanning search on Hotel service innovation: the moderating role of hotel star level and ownership style
Original languageChinese
Pages (from-to)124-133
Journal经济管理 Economic Management Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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