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Service development in traditional product manufacturing companies

Heiko Gebauer (Institute of Technology Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland)
Regine Krempl (Institute of Technology Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland)
Elgar Fleisch (Institute of Technology Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The primary objective of this paper is to explore antecedents for developing different types of services. A second objective is to address the neglected role of service development in manufacturing firms.


A qualitative research approach is used. While the study is qualitative due to its context, it is positioned between deductive and inductive qualitative studies, being neither a test of an already developed theory nor a development of a new theory. Rather, it is an extension of existing theories on service development through dialectic interaction between field studies and existing theory.


The findings suggest that three types of service (customer service, product‐related services, and customer support services) differ in their configuration of antecedents for service development.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on case‐study research, but the external validity (generalisability) of the antecedents could not be assessed. Future research would benefit from insights obtained from quantitative data.

Practical implications

The combination of different service types and antecedents forms a model that can guide managers in typical product manufacturing companies who wish to extend the service business by developing services successfully.


Based on three in‐depth case studies and 18 bi‐polar mini cases, this paper explores the relationship between types of services in manufacturing companies and typical antecedents that are necessary for service development.



Gebauer, H., Krempl, R. and Fleisch, E. (2008), "Service development in traditional product manufacturing companies", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 219-240.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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