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Barriers to the adoption of digital servitization: a case of the Sri Lankan manufacturing sector

Weerabahu Mudiyanselage Samanthi Kumari Weerabahu (Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Premaratne Samaranayake (Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Dilupa Nakandala (Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Henry Lau (Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Dasun Nirmala Malaarachchi (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 14 December 2022




This research aims to identify, examine and evaluate barriers to the adoption of digital servitization in manufacturing firms in the case of the Sri Lankan manufacturing sector and analyze the inter-relationships among digital servitization barriers.


Based on the comprehensive literature review, 13 barriers were identified. The grey decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (grey-DEMATEL) approach was used to uncover and analyze the relationships among barriers in terms of their overall influence and dependencies.


A prominent barrier to the success of adopting digital servitization in the Sri Lankan manufacturing sector is the lack of digital strategy in developing activities related to the design of digital service packages, organizational structures and processes. Supply chain integration is the most influential factor, which plays an important role in developing a competitive advantage by encouraging innovation process capabilities in servitized companies.

Practical implications

Industry practitioners can develop guidelines for adopting digital servitization practices based on the importance and interdependencies of different barriers and thereby prioritize projects within a program of digital servitization adoption in their organizations.


Research studies on barriers to digital servitization are limited to exploratory nature and have adopted mainly the qualitative approach, such as in-depth interviews. No empirical study has investigated the inter-relationships among digital servitization adoption barriers in the manufacturing sector. This study provides a holistic view of different barriers to the adoption of digital servitization in the manufacturing sector as a basis for developing comprehensive digital servitization strategies to manage and leverage complexity in digital transformation.



Funding: This work was funded by HDR Development Grant Scheme from the School of Business, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Weerabahu, W.M.S.K., Samaranayake, P., Nakandala, D., Lau, H. and Malaarachchi, D.N. (2022), "Barriers to the adoption of digital servitization: a case of the Sri Lankan manufacturing sector", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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