Does Social Software Support Service Innovation?

33 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2009

See all articles by Jenny Meyer

Jenny Meyer

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Date Written: 2009


Recent Internet technologies and web-based applications, such as social software, are being increasingly applied in firms. Social software can be employed for knowledge management and for external communication enabling access to internal and external knowledge. Knowledge in turn constitutes one of the main inputs to service innovation. Hence, social software has the potential to support service innovation. Using data from 505 German Information- and Communication Technology (ICT) and knowledge-intensive service firms, this is the first paper which empirically analysesthe question whether the use of social software applications triggers innovation. Thereby, it refers to a knowledge production function in which social software use constitutes the knowledge sourcing activity. The results reveal that there is a positive relationship between social software and service innovation. Since this result is robust when controlling for former innovative activities and the previous propensity to adopt new technologies and to change processes, the analysis suggests that the causality runs from social software to innovation.

Keywords: social software, web 2.0, service innovation, knowledge management

JEL Classification: O31, O33, M1

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Jenny, Does Social Software Support Service Innovation? (2009). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 09-046, Available at SSRN: or

Jenny Meyer (Contact Author)

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034

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