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Managing the Transformation Towards Advanced Service Provision: A Multilevel Framework of Servitization
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Product-oriented firms are increasingly moving towards providing services to customers in a bid to differentiate their offerings, increase customer loyalty, and achieve higher, more stable revenue streams. This trend of servitization is becoming ubiquitous in manufacturing firms. These firms increasingly invest resources in efforts to offer basic and advanced services. Basic services focus on supporting the functioning of the product and increasing its efficiency. But advanced services focus on helping customers achieve their desired outcomes. Providing advanced services holds potential of greater benefits for the manufacturing firms, but a closer look indicates that most firms still largely offer basic services. This is because, advanced services demand greater intensity in relationships with customers, a higher degree of customization, and a sharper focus on assisting customers in their own value creation processes.

 

Offering advanced services is more risky, complex, and difficult to execute. Therefore, significant changes must be made in terms of company culture, structures, processes, capabilities, and business models. In fact, servitizing firms must transform almost every aspect of the way they do business – from their business strategy to their capabilities, organizational structure, culture, mindset, and business logic. This transformation towards advanced services therefore affects all levels of the firm: strategic, operational, and individual levels. Although prior studies have explored many aspects of the challenges involved in the transformation towards advanced services, they typically focus on function-specific practices without linking initiatives at other organizational levels. The literature lacks a multilevel understanding of the transformation process. Such an understanding could provide a better understanding of the transformation process, linking various aspects at multiple levels within the firm. To address this gap, this dissertation aims to improve our understanding of multilevel transformation towards advanced service provision in manufacturing firms.

 

Based on extensive qualitative studies with 13 leading Swedish manufacturing firms engaged in servitization, this dissertation provides a framework that shows how manufacturing firms experience ambivalence (i.e. the simultaneous pull in opposite directions) during transformation and how this affects the firm at the strategic, operational, and individual levels. The dissertation provides specific insights of how individual actions enable capability building for advanced services and how capabilities for advanced services help address business model alignment problems, thereby supporting transformation towards advanced service provision. This dissertation extends our understanding of how various aspects at multiple levels within a manufacturing firm are linked during the transformation towards advanced service provision. It marks one of the initial attempts in the servitization research to provide a multilevel explanation of firms’ overall transformation from providers of products to providers of advanced services.

 

This dissertation also uses the lens of ambivalence to provide insights into co-existing product and service orientations and their consequences during servitization. Ambivalence theories have been associated with individuals and have been applied in the sociopsychology literature. This dissertation extends these theories to the organizational context and the servitization literature. It also identifies specific capabilities that can help manufacturing firms in their transformation towards advanced services. Specifically, it redefines digitalization capability and shows how this capability is one of the most important capabilities that manufacturing firms must develop to transform into advanced service providers. This dissertation also provides a capability maturity model that can help guide the capability development process in manufacturing firms. Finally, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of the role of individuals in the transformation process within firms. This is one of the first systematic attempts to provide a microfoundation-based view of individual-level influences on higher-level outcomes in the servitization literature.

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2018. , p. 98
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords [en]
Servitization, Advanced Services, Multilevel, Transformation, Ambivalence, Microfoundations, Capabilities
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66916ISBN: 978-91-7790-017-7 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7790-018-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-66916DiVA, id: diva2:1163149
Public defence
2018-01-29, A109, Luleå teknimska universitet, Luleå, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-08-31Bibliographically approved

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