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R & D Management
Oxford : Blackwell Publishing Limited
ISSN : 0033-6807

Research and development (R&D) beyond manufacturing: the strange case of services R&D


Ian Miles | Manchester Business School |

Vol.37 No.3 , pp.249 ~ 268


The share of business research and development (R&D) expenditure stemming from the services sector of the economy has been growing rapidly in many (though not all) OECD countries, according to official statistics. The same data sources also indicate, however, that services contribute less to R&D than would be expected given their large shares of employment and output in national economies. In part, incomplete sampling of services in R&D surveys may lead to some underestimation of their R&D activity, but this is unlikely to account for their apparently poor performance. This paper draws on an analysis of existing statistical sources, and on interviews and workshops with service firms' managers. It finds difficulties associated with the ways in which R&D has been operationalised in survey questions. Examination of survey questionnaires suggests that the formulation of these questions, focusing on technological R&D and ruling out much social scientific R&D, disproportionately reduces the reporting of R&D by service firms. This tendency, as far as it relates to R&D management, is significant in that it minimises the likelihood that local management collaboration between co-located firms will improve the performance of R&D projects.


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