Innovation and Knowledge-Intensive Business Service Firms: Hong Kong’s Engineering Consulting Sector


Kwok Wai Ma, PhD
Hong Kong Institute of Education, Department of Social Sciences, Sai Kung, N.T., Hong Kong, China

Series: Business Issues, Competition and Entrepreneurship
BISAC: TEC003080

The purpose of this book is to investigate the innovation process in engineering consulting firms as a knowledge-intensive service sector. Extant literature in the resource-based view of the firm calls for empirical studies to illustrate the process of how human resource systems provide organizations with a competitive advantage. The key issue is on how the different elements of human resource systems interact. The evidence unveiled in this book does just that. Likewise, it has been suggested that resource systems as a source of a competitive edge should not be viewed as a static phenomenon. Sustained competitiveness requires an organization to constantly adjust itself according to the evolving market conditions. Such dynamic capability has been illustrated in cases within this book. On the other hand, literature on innovation studies indicates that new analytical approaches applicable to both manufacturing and service industries can be beneficial to future research in this field. The tactic adopted in this book can serve as a prelude to such an attempt. (Imprint: Nova)



Table of Contents



List of Figures

List of Tables

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Methodology

Chapter 3. Human Resource Systems

Chapter 4. Knowledge Systems

Chapter 5. Geotechnical Engineering in Hong Kong

Chapter 6. Conclusions




“This book represents a very original study of the cases on innovation of Hong Kong’s companies at the micro level. At the macro level, due to the fact that the Hong Kong government has been formalizing and institutionalizing its innovation and technology policy, the publication of Dr. Kwok Wai Ma’s new book is practically timely and academically significant. While practitioners must ponder the broader policy implications of this important work, academics will find it extremely insightful with theoretical and empirical directions for their future research.” – <strong>Sonny Lo, Professor of Department of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education

“For far too many of us, the HR office stands poised at the periphery of our workplace and career. We meet with HR when we’re hired, when we transfer, and/or when we resign or retire. Now, suddenly following an eye-opening read of this book, I’ve changed my opinion entirely. I, along with top level management at organizations well known throughout the world, are seeing HR in the new light of first, being a CXO level contender, and a contributor to the firm’s competitive advantage. Those of us who never viewed HR in a strategic light have been enlightened by the many cases which introduce us to the untapped potential of this heretofore ignored department which we thought we knew and understood so well!” – Dr. Kevin Duffy, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, Wright State University

“This book is a MUST READ for human resource managers and CEO’s who wish to view their human resources as their strategic advantage. This book is such a timely addition to the body of knowledge of innovation studies and strategic human resource management. Using case studies, the author describes, explains and connects the human resource system with an organizational knowledge system, presents a creative pathway to illustrative how both systems can work together synergistically. The book’s perspective is unique and represents a leap in our understanding of a complex socio-human network at play in all organizations” – Professor Vikram Sethi, Director of Center for Professional Education (CPE), Wright State University


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Multidisciplinary in nature, this book should appeal to academics, including professors, researchers, and students specializing in innovation studies, strategic management and/or human resource management. While the subject firms included in the cases described in this book come from the engineering consulting sector, practicing managers from this field and management consultants should be interested in the issues illustrated.

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