Service Provider Flexibility: A Strategic Perspective
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
This thesis is about service provider flexibility and how provider flexibility facilitates customer value creation in contexts where customer processes and activities change. Provider flexibility is delineated as a mechanism of value creation and defined as the ability of the service provider to respond to changes or to bring about changes that support its customers’ value creation. Although provider flexibility has been implied as a relevant factor in value creation, previous studies focusing on some kind of provider flexibility would benefit from a deeper understanding of the strategic role that service provider flexibility plays in value creation.
The purpose of this study is to provide a framework that explicates the strategic role of provider flexibility in value creation. The role of provider flexibility in the adjustment of the provider’s processes and activities and the development of opportunities based on insights from customer interactions are thus emphasized. Moreover, while these insights from customer interactions can offer valuable development opportunities for the service provider, these opportunities yield returns only with the transfer of the insights back to the service provider’s organization.
The research process evolves along five research articles that develop the understanding of the strategic role of provider flexibility in value creation. The study builds on the empirical data from five service organizations of large industrial firms. The empirical insights from the articles are expanded and their conclusions further developed by iteratively and abductively substantiating the research model. The discussion explicates how exercising provider flexibility—in the form of organizational flexibility in the provider sphere, interaction flexibility in the joint sphere, and flexibility in use in the customer sphere—contributes to value creation. Moreover, findings show that the provider and the customer are entwined in a service system surrounding their service relationship. Provider flexibility in this aspect functions not merely as a mechanism of value creation, but also as a carrier of knowledge and information about the customer. Having this dynamics in mind, the provider continues to use provider flexibility to reinvent itself and constantly evolve the organization.
This thesis contributes to the literature by providing a framework that explicates the strategic role of provider flexibility in value creation. More specifically, the contributions are: 1) an increased understanding of how provider flexibility in value creation is exercised, placing provider flexibility at the core of the encompassing process of value creation, and thus explicating the manner in which the encompassing process of value creation can unfold; and 2) an increased understanding of the strategic role of the work of part-time marketers by delineating the process of provider flexibility in value creation where different aspects of provider flexibility in value creation are linked.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2015. , 91 p.
provider flexibility, value creation, service logic, service, strategic flexibility
Research subject Business Administration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123653ISBN: 978-91-7649-297-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123653DiVA: diva2:875430
2016-01-29, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Roslagsvägen 101, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Witell, Lars, Professor
Nordin, Fredrik, Associate ProfessorRavald, Annika, Assistant ProfessorBerg, Per-Olof, Professor emeritus
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: Manuscript.2016-01-052015-12-012015-12-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers