Intra-firm and inter-firm challenges in servitization ecosystem: Experiences from five product-centric firms in different industries

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Chirumalla, Koteshwar (1); Emmanuel-Ebikake, Oyetola (2); Leoni, Luna (3); Servati, Mohsen (4)
Series: ICED
Institution: M
Section: Product-Service-System (PSS) Design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


The purpose of this paper is to analyse the challenges in the servitization journey of product-centric firms from an ecosystem perspective, considering both intra-firm and inter-firm levels. Prior research addresses the challenges of servitization in many sectors from different perspectives. However, the majority of studies primarily focus on the provider of an offering. There is a lack of in-depth studies on analysing servitization challenges from the broader set of network actors including customers, suppliers, and sub-suppliers at the intra-firm and inter-firm levels. A multiple case study method was used to analyse five product-centric firms from different industries that were engaged in servitization. At intra-firm level, our analysis shows that ?coordination? is a major challenge for the provider, supplier, and sub-suppliers, and that ?uncertainty? and ?risk? is a major challenge for the provider, customer, and supplier. At inter-firm level, ?partnership management? found to be a most significant challenge for provider, customer, supplier, and sub-suppliers. The study contributes to the discussion of the relational view approach for servitization research.

Keywords: Product-Service Systems (PSS), Circular economy, Business models and considerations


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